Keep your eyes on the screen… or better yet, don’t! At the end of the day, do you suffer from headaches, dry eyes, neck or back pain, blurred vision, eye twitching or red eyes? These are all common symptoms of what is now referred to as ‘digital eyestrain’ or ‘Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).’ Digital eyestrain is the direct result of overexposure to digital devices, such as laptops, smartphones, tablet, and even televisions. A recent report from the Vision Council, states that symptoms of digital eyestrain occur when people use devices for two or more hours daily. It goes on to report that young adults (those under 30 years of age) are more likely to suffer from these symptoms than older adults – which is not surprising.
Some other statistics from the report include the following:
- 90% of Americans use digital devices for more than 2 hours daily;
- 60% of Americans use digital devices for more than 5 hours each day – and the majority use two or more devices at one time;
- 65% of Americans report experiencing symptoms of digital eyestrain (36% experience neck/shoulder/back pain; 35% complain of eyestrain; 25% suffer from headaches; 25% report blurred vision; and 24% experience dry eyes). (Associations Now)
Although overexposure to digital screens is said to be the cause of eyestrain, it’s the exposure to high-energy (HEV) artificial blue-light, focusing fatigue, and glare that are major contributing factors. “Cumulative exposure to artificial blue-light can contribute to vision problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.” (GUNNAR Optiks) When working at a computer, people blink 30% less than normal; dry, irritated, red eyes is the direct result.
Our dependence upon digital technology at work and at home is on the rise. The majority of Americans use their smartphones and computers to get directions, look up recipes, read books, shop, and check the weather. We can only imagine what the cumulative effect will be on the eyes of our children. These statistics are not encouraging, however the future for our eyes is not hopeless. There are common sense practices that can alleviate eyestrain and new devices to bring relief to our tired eyes.
All About Vision.com suggests ten things we can do to bring relief to our digitally strained eyes. Closing blinds, working away from windows, replacing flourescent lightbulbs with those which approximate natural light, and adjusting computer display settings can all be effective ways to reduce glare in the workplace and relieve eyestrain.
Exercising your eyes, taking frequent breaks, and modifying your workstation can also inhibit the symptoms of digital eyestrain. Simple exercises, like the ’20-20-20 rule’, reduce fatigue that is caused by constantly focusing on your screen. Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Taking a 5-15 minute break away from your computer screen, a couple of times a day, has not only reduced eyestrain, but has also been shown to improve productivity. Improving posture and position at the computer screen have also been effective at warding off computer vision syndrome. The center of the computer screen should be approximately 15 degrees below your eyes and 20-24 inches away.
Lastly, companies have designed eyewear that prevent some of the most common symptoms of digital eyestrain or computer vision syndrome. These glasses have special lenses that add additional contrast to ease viewing, filter high-frequency blue-light emitted from digital devices, eliminate visual distractions with anti-reflective coatings, and wrap around the head to keep moisture in the eyes reducing dry eyes. (GUNNAR Optiks)
While future technology may take consumer comfort into consideration, we need to be aware of the consequences of our dependence upon it. It is my hope that you will employ some of the suggestions herein and enjoy www.watermelon.ag for many years to come.
Smith, Ernie. “Report: Digital Screens Still a Sight for Sore Eyes.” RSS 20. Associations Now, 15 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 Jan. 2016.
Heiting, Gary, and Larry K. Wan. “Are You Spending Too Much Time Looking at Digital Devices? Learn How It Can Affect Your Eyes.” All About Vision. All About Vision.Com, 7 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 Jan. 2016.
“Why You Need Computer Glasses | GUNNAR Optiks.” GUNNAR Optiks. N.p., 03 Feb. 2014. Web. 21 Jan. 2016.