How to prevent eye damage after many hours of work on the computer?

A dear friend recently asked:
How do I to prevent eye damage after many hours of work on the computer?
Here is my answer which I hope you find helpful as well.
Sandra Lora Cremers, MD, FACS
Using your eyes on the computer many hours a day usually will not physically damage the internal structures of the eye but can cause the following issues (most common to least):
1. In young children & young adults: a great deal of near work can induce the eye to grow longer causing further nearsightedness and myopia (the prescription can go from a -0.50D to a -2.00D for instance. My sister (who is now head of Oculoplastics at Stanford) after her first year of medical school went from “plano (meaning not needing glasses)” to “-2.00D in 1 year!) We were shocked to see this as most studies showed the eye stops being able to grow after age 18 or so. This was not the case with her as she studied so hard.
This is a reminder to limit iphone, ipad, video game use for kids as it will make the myopia increase. Myopia is a serious condition for some people as it can increase one’s risk for a retinal detachment and trauma in some cases. Myopia is an epidemic in most parts of the world likely do to the decreased need to “hunt and gather” and the increased need to “do everything on the computer or phone.”
One retinal colleaugue who is the eyeMD for former US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel theorized that the eye grows because there is overstimulation of the internal sphincter muscles of the eye with no “relaxation time.” Thus if one takes breaks and looks outside or closes the eyes every few minutes (no one knows if this theory is true & what is the minimum number of times one should look afar every hour) then theoretically, the eye will not be induced to grow. There is also a genetic component here as well: some patients are likely predisposed to have faster eye elongation with certain amounts of near work compared to others.
2. Some people experience “eye strain” and headaches with many hours of near work: this is likely due to a spasm of the inner muscles in the eye which sometimes require a postive “Add” or Prescription such as reading glasses. If one finds they get headaches after near/computer work sometimes an over the counter reading glasses will help.
3. Prolonged near work can also cause drying of the tear film and dry eyes which can cause symptoms of burning, tearing, foreign body sensation, eye pain.If younger, . 
The best way to prevent dry eyes is with a “Lid Hygiene Routine” noted on website below and eating many Omega 3’s (2000-4000mg/day) in fish, seeds, nuts or pills.

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