By Dr Ryan Robison
It’s not unusual to hear complaints about eyestrain, eye fatigue, blurred vision, dry or red eyes, and even headaches. There is often a strong correlation between these symptoms and the amount of time spent on computers, tablets or smart phones.
Our visual system isn’t designed to stare at screens for prolonged hours. With changes in technology, our eyes are being used in new and demanding ways. This can cause any of the symptoms described above.
This condition is called Computer Vision Syndrome (digital eyestrain) and refers to the discomfort associated with prolonged digital device use, specifically televisions, computers, smart phones, e-readers, and tablets.
So what can we do to keep our eyes healthy while using digital devices? First, use the proper prescription. If you don’t, this can cause headaches and eyestrain that could have been easily avoided. Many patients find comfort with computer glasses that provide a wider focus for both computer and reading distances.
Second, reduce glare from excessive lighting. Overhead lighting or sunlight can cause reflections on your monitor. You can adjust the brightness, contrast, or size of your font to reduce strain. Many patients report improved comfort on e-readers by adjusting text size.
Third, blink! Studies show that we blink less when reading or watching TV which causes tear evaporation and dryness. Sometimes treatments or medications may be needed, such as LipiFlow, punctual plugs, fish oils, prescription eye drops or artificial tears.
Finally, take breaks! Staring at screens will strain our eyes. The muscle in our eye that accommodates can get overworked and needs to relax periodically. This can be done with the 20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes of near activity take a 20 second break and blink several times.
Studies also show that prolonged exposure to LED screens can damage retinal cells and increase risk for macular degeneration. Luckily, there are lenses that block this damaging light.
With the ease technology offers, we must take precautions to avoid the damaging effects to our eyes. To schedule an appointment with us call 435-673-5577 or visit our website at SouthWestVision.com.