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Computer Vision Syndrome Under O=MEGA Spotlight

Associate Professors Andrew Anderson and Laura Downie, from the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences at the University of Melbourne will address the hot topic of blue-light filtering lenses and whether they are useful for managing Computer Vision Syndrome at the upcoming O=MEGA23/WCO4 conference in September.

During a presentation titled ‘Computer Vision Syndrome: Do Blue-light Filtering Lenses (and Other Therapies) Help?’, they will expand on their 2021 research, published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, by further examining what is known about blue light-blocking ophthalmic devices and other approaches that have been studied for managing computer vision syndrome.

Assoc Prof Downie noted that a wide variety of different approaches had been studied as possible management strategies for computer vision syndrome

“While our research has shown that spectacle lenses with blue-light blockers represent about one-third of all prescribed glasses, scientific evidence does not support the notion that wearing blue-light blocking lenses is effective in preventing eye strain caused by digital devices,” said A/Prof Anderson.

According to A/Prof Anderson, the concerns surrounding excessive screen time and its impact on the eyes arise from the belief that because blue light wavelengths possess higher energy, the threat posed to vision is significant.

“The light emitted by computer screens falls well within safe levels and poses no significant risk to eye health. The most powerful source of blue light we are exposed to on a day-to-day basis is the sun, and so it is important that often over-hyped information about the risks from computer screens does not distract patients from ensuring they take appropriate care in the sun – for example, limiting their exposure and using appropriate sunglasses.

Optometrists serve a crucial role in appropriately educating patients in this regard and providing them with spectacles and sunglasses that meet relevant Australian standards.”

Management Strategies

Assoc Prof Downie noted that a wide variety of different approaches had been studied as possible management strategies for computer vision syndrome, ranging from different forms of optical aids, through to systemic vitamin supplementation, and even yoga.

“Based on our comprehensive consideration of the best-available research evidence from randomised controlled clinical trials, our 2022 systematic review published in Ophthalmology did not find high-certainty evidence to support the use of any therapy studied to date for treating computer vision syndrome,” Assoc Prof Downie said.

Assoc Profs. Anderson and Downie’s presentation at O=MEGA23/WCO4 will take place on Saturday, 9 September in The Eureka room at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC) from 9am – 10am.

The biennial O=MEGA event is the optometry industry’s biggest event in the Southern Hemisphere and in 2023, it will combine with the World Congress of Optometry. This partnership will create a unique alignment and rare opportunity to combine a national and international program to showcase the largest optometric event in the region.

Find more program information here.

A Creche, Social Functions and the Koori Market

To support parents attending the event, O=MEGA23/WCO4 will offer a creche service run by qualified staff for the duration of the clinical program with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea for little ones included in the cost.

Various social functions are also on the itinerary for conference delegates and include the Welcome Reception (Friday evening, 8 September) and the Meet and Greet Down Under event (Saturday evening, 9 September), which will run concurrently with The Koorie Market @ Naarm.

Creating a wonderful opportunity for the optometric community to connect with Aboriginal communities, the Koori Market @ Naarm will showcase Indigenous and First Nations work, businesses, wares and musical talent, celebrating and uplifting their culture.