In this age of connectivity, digital technology has become an integral part of most people’s professional and personal lives. With Statista reporting an 87.27% internet penetration rate here in the U.S, it’s not surprising that a lot of us spend a considerable amount of time looking at screens — using a computer at work, checking social media on our phones, and watching TV shows on our tablets.
After using digital devices for long periods, our eyes often feel tired, itchy, blurry, and irritated. And more often than not, this type of discomfort is accompanied by a headache and a sore neck, shoulders, or back. All these are symptoms of an emerging health phenomenon — digital eye strain.
The American Optometric Association defines digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome, as a group of eye and vision-related problems that are caused by prolonged use of digital devices like computers, tablets, and mobile phones.
The use of any digital device often forces our eyes to work harder, since they are constantly trying to focus and reposition in order to see the tiny images and text displayed on the screens clearly. Viewing or reading anything on a screen is different from reading a printed page, as digital screens use pixels to display words and images, which give less contrast than the printed page our eyes are more adept at seeing. Thus, looking at digital screens requires more focus, and leads to our eyes squinting and straining to read or view. The main factors that affect the extent of digital eye strain are the user’s amount of time spent looking at a digital screen and his or her eyesight issues, such as farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.
Digital eye strain can be annoying, but its visual symptoms are only temporary and go away once you rest your eyes. But if these are left untreated, they may become more frequent and persistent. In some cases, symptoms of eyestrain can indicate an underlying eye condition that needs professional attention.
Given the reality of today’s digital world, how do you protect your eyes and prevent digital eye strain?
As mentioned before by Dr. Tavel here on the blog, don’t forget to blink. When staring at a screen, people tend to blink less. Blinking more often will help prevent eye dryness and irritation, but if dryness persists, you can opt to use over-the-counter artificial drops to relieve dry eyes.
Limit your screen time as much as possible and avoid unnecessary viewing. Take regular breaks from using your work computer or tablet to help your eyes focus on different distances. Stand up and stretch every couple of hours, and don’t eat meals in front of a screen so you’re not tempted to check emails or other messages while you eat.
Our blue light filtering lenses can help reduce a lot of side effects of digital eye strain. If your job or daily routine have you exposed to digital screens all day, our Kodak Total Blue and Kodak Power Up lenses block the bad light and reduce glare. The Kodak Power Up lenses also give a little magnifying boost to help our eyes focus on various screens even easier.
Lastly, it’s very important to visit the doctor for regular eye check-ups. Fortunately, Maryville University notes how healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries around and is constantly looking for new ways to treat persistent issues related to newfound debilitating problems. And if you’re experiencing constant digital eye strain due to your use of digital devices, it’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible to know how to go about it. For those based in Indiana, go ahead and schedule an eye exam with Dr. Travel or one of his board-certified optometrists today to give your eyes the care they deserve.
Start the new year with a new look when you trade-in your old glasses for new ones. We will give you a $20.20 trade-in credit toward new glasses. All the new and gently used frames we collect will be donated to Eyes of Hope, where they will be distributed to people in need. Eyes of Hope supports local communities around the globe through initiatives that bring eye care, eyewear, education, and disaster relief to places where they’re needed most.
Specially written for drtavel.com
By: Mariah Marley