No more fogged glasses; winter is a great time for laser vision correction

Cold weather in Minnesota does not mean total hibernation. Some people enjoy outdoor sports like downhill or cross country skiing. Others enjoy ice skating or hockey. Many people continue to exercise outdoors during the winter months, and don't limit themselves due to the cold weather.

Whether it is participating in any of these activities or just going from a warm car to the cold climate, life for people who wear glasses is enhanced when they don’t have to worry about having them fog up.

Dr. Robert Warshawsky, Dr. Neal Sher, Dr. Shobana Murali, Dr. Trond Stockenstrom and Dr. Dinesh Goyal are experts in laser vision correction and refractive surgery. Patients who have lever had laser vision correction and those who may need enhancements/touch-ups from prior refractive surgery can all benefit. Each of these doctors who perform laser vision correction have more than a decade of experience helping patients to eliminate or reduce their need for contacts or eyeglasses.

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Eye strain: tips for tired eyes

When people focus their eyes for long periods of time, whether it is working on a computer, reading or book or driving, they may experience “eye strain”. The term “eye strain” describes many variables and not just one condition.

In actuality eye strain is more of a symptom than an actual condition. Everyone uses this term differently and to describe a wide variety of issues. One person may tell their ophthalmologist that their eyes are tired or watery, while another may have blurred vision. Others may suffer from have headaches that they attribute to eye strain, and some people have facial muscle fatigue from squinting for long periods from not wearing the correct glasses.

The good news is that eye strain does not injure the eye in any way and it does not cause permanent damage. There are simple changes people can make to reduce eye strain and increase eye comfort.

Causes of eye strain

In most cases the symptoms of eye strain are caused by looking at something for long periods without blinking, causing the eyes to feel dry. The eye strain a person experiences from looking at a computer is no different from the eye strain caused by driving or reading for hours.

If a person’s prescription for glasses or contacts is incorrect it can cause blurriness, which can increase the feelings of eye strain. A work environment which is too bright or not bright enough can also cause visual discomfort.

Tips to reduce eye strain from computer use

There are many steps that people can take to reduce the feeling of eye strain from prolonged computer use. One is to use artificial tears. A second tip is to adjust the computer screen so the eyes gaze slightly downward.

Try to use a high quality monitor; one with night shift options. The accessibility features on Apple devices and the equivalent on PCs can reverse the polarity of the screen (white print on black background) when you are reading long documents.

Putting a humidifier next to your desk can also help when using the computer for long periods of time.

A good rule to keep in mind is called the "20-20-20" rule: every 20 minutes it is recommended that people shift their eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

Eye comfort for driving

Here are some recommendations to reduce eye strain when driving:

  • Make sure that air vents are adjusted so they're not blowing directly into your face
  • If your eyes feel dry, use artificial tears
  • Wear your glasses or contacts to reduce squinting
  • Use sunglasses during the daytime hours
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How does your vision affect your ability
to drive?

Vision is essential when driving, but really good vision can ensure that you are a safer driver. It helps you identify road hazards, read important signs and see your dashboard clearly. When you stay aware of common vision-related changes and problems, it can help you drive more safely.

What is the level of visual function necessary for driving?

Both visual acuity and field of vision are extremely important factors of safe driving. Every state has different vision regulations for driving, so it is important to know what your local requirements are.


Visual acuity is measured by reading letters on an eye chart. This test gauges how clearly you can see. The results will determine whether you need glasses or contacts, or if you need a new prescription.


Your visual field measures the width of area your eye can see when you focus on a central point. There are a few different types of visual field tests available. The visual field test most commonly used in the United States is called automated perimetry. This test involves identifying flashing lights in a special device.

There are some common vision changes that can affect driving

Age-related eye changes are normal, and some can affect your vision and your ability to drive safely. Changes that may affect driving ability include presbyopia, which may impact your ability to see your dashboard or navigation system, and dry-eye, which can reduce the quality of your vision at night.

There are additional conditions that can impact your driving vision, including:

  • Glaucoma. This disease damages your eye’s optic nerve. Unfortunately there are often no warning signs or obvious symptoms in the early stages. However, as the disease progresses, blind spots can develop in your peripheral vision, or in your central vision.
  • Diabetic retinopathy. This is a disease where high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. It can lead to central and peripheral vision loss.
  • Cataract. People with cataracts experience a progressive clouding of the natural lens inside the eye that causes blurry vision, glare and halos around lights. Cataracts can also make it hard to see well at night, especially in inclement weather or in low light conditions. Cataracts can also diminish color vision.
  • Macular degeneration. Macular degeneration damages part of the retina called the macula. This can lead to loss of central vision.

Some people notice these issues quickly and their problems become very obvious over a short period of time. Other people experience gradual loss of vision that is less noticeable. For these reasons, it is very important to have regular eye exams so your ophthalmologist can find these changes early. Prompt treatment can help avoid irreversible vision loss.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends regular eye exams by an ophthalmologist starting at age 40.

Many people start to have issues driving at night

Driving at night is more challenging because the lighting is poor and more complex visual tasks are required for safe driving.

Here are some tips to help improve visibility while driving at night:

  • Keep your windshield and windows, headlights and taillights clean
  • Wear up-to-date corrective glasses or contact lenses
  • Properly adjust all mirrors
  • Make sure that your headlights are properly maintained so they light the road adequately.

If you have these eye issues get them checked out

If you notice any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with an ophthalmologist right away to avoid more serious complications:

  • Blurry vision or a noticeable decrease in vision
  • Halos or glare from oncoming headlights or streetlights
  • A dark spot that appears in your central or peripheral vision
  • Increased difficulty reading road signs or seeing pedestrians