Glaucoma and using IT

This week is World Glaucoma Week and we thought it might be a good idea to explore how using a computer might affect you if you have glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition which affects the optic nerve where it carries visual information to the brain. Pressure builds in the eye and this is caused by a backup of fluid.  Left untreated the pressure can damage the optic nerve.World Glaucoma Week 2018 logo

Glaucoma affects two percent of people over the age of 40 but can affect younger people too. If left untreated  glaucoma can cause blindness and this awareness week is all about promoting good eye health and reminding people to go to get their eyes checked on a regular basis.

Frequently asked questions about using a computer if you have glaucoma

Can using a computer cause glaucoma?

The Glaucoma  Research Federation, a US based charity feels that the use of computer screens is not directly linked to glaucoma. However excessive computer use can cause other eye related condition such as dry-eyes and there are some studies which do suggest a possible connection because computer useage and glaucoma, and potentially more so for short-sighted people. 

Can computer screen glare be a problem if I have glaucoma?

Glare from monitors has been identified as being an issue when using the computer for users with glaucoma. Additionally, office lighting can often be an issue if you have glaucoma as it can cause lots of unwanted glare. There are strict guidelines that cover lighting at work in the UK. Altrering your diaplay settings may be useful.

I need to use my computer and tablet a lot for work and I find it difficult to take breaks. What can do?

Nay people find it difficult to stay off devices. There are lots of apps and software packages which “force” you to stop looking at your device. The 20-20-20 (every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds) rule is also good to remember and enforce. If you are conscious that you are spending too much time looking at your computer screen you could always help reduce eye strain by using text-to-speech to read out text to you so you can take your eyes away from the screen, if only for a moment.

How can we help?

AbilityNet provides a range of services to help disabled people and older people.

Call our free Helpline. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will discuss any kind of computer problem and do their best to come up with a solution. We’re open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0800 269 545.

If you are in work your employers have a responsibility to make Reasonable Adjustment. For more details on this have a look at and

Arrange a home visit. We have a network of AbilityNet ITCanHelp volunteers who can help if you have technical issues with your computer systems. They can come to your home, or help you over the phone.