The Digital Age’s Effect on Eyes
We spend more time looking at digital screens than any previous generation. The average American spends seven hours a day interacting with a screen. Many school-aged children now use tablets or computers to complete homework or classroom assignments.
If you’ve ever wondered whether all this “screen time” affects ocular health, you should know that individuals that spend hours staring at a screen can develop Computer Vision Syndrome, also called digital eye strain. Read on as Dr. Gregory Johnson of Intracoastal Eye explains how this condition affects your eyes.
Understanding Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)
Computer Vision Syndrome occurs due to extended computer, tablet or smartphone use. Looking at a digital screen requires the eyes to work harder, making many people vulnerable to vision problems. For example, the eyes must focus and move differently looking at a digital screen than other types of reading materials. The contrast between text and background images or colors can be reduced on a computer screen and screen glare or reflections can impair viewing. Furthermore, natural blink rate slows down when using a computer or another digital device, leading to dry, irritated eyes.
And although there isn’t convincing evidence that blue light exposure from digital devices can damage the eyes, blue light can affect the body’s circadian rhythm, making it harder to get enough quality sleep.
How to Avoid Computer Vision Syndrome
Ideally Computer Vision Syndrome can be avoided by reducing screen time. However, that sometimes isn’t possible due to work or school. There are certain habits you can follow to protect yourself from digital eye strain.
First, check your posture and ensure that your computer screen sits at arm’s length and slightly below your eye level. Reposition your screen to minimize glare and adjust overhead light or light that competes with your screen. You may want to invest in special eyewear with anti-reflective lenses to block and selectively absorb blue light.
For every 20 minutes of computer work, take a 20-second break to focus on an object 20 feet away. This is known as the 20/20/20 rule.
Finally, focus on blinking regularly to keep your eyes moist and healthy.
Contact Intracoastal Eye
If you are worried about digital eye strain, Dr. Johnson is happy to discuss your concerns. Please call 910-777-8254 or email Intracoastal Eye with any questions you may have.