Everyday usage of modern technology can lead to varying degrees of fatigue and strain on your eyes.
Every day, adults and children access digital devices for work, entertainment and education. Often, we spend hours watching videos, reading books and articles, or catching up with friends on social media. While this technology may be improving and enhancing our lives, there are some possible health issues we need to be aware of. Visual fatigue or eyestrain is an increasingly common condition resulting from constant digital usage.
Many people suffer from eyestrain without knowing the actual cause. Symptoms of visual fatigue may include watery, dry, tired, burning or stinging eyes, difficulty focusing or concentrating, sensitivity to light, and headaches. Some symptoms have lasting effects that cause discomfort long after devices have been put away.
One primary cause of eyestrain is the High Energy Visible (HEV) blue light that emits from most digital devices and electronics like LED lights, TV, computer, phone and tablets. HEV blue light has shorter wavelength than other lights in the visible spectrum causing light to scatter more, decrease contrast and strain the eyes. Unlike HEV blue light, the natural blue turquoise light
in the visible spectrum is beneficial to regulate sleep cycle, increase alertness, and improve moods. Because modern technology usage and demands lead to increased exposure to digital screens and decreased exposure to outdoor activities, many experience symptoms of digital eyestrain.
THE 20/20/20 RULE
Take a 20 second break every 20 minutes to focus on objects 20 feet away
Eyestrain is also worsened due of close proximity of the eyes to the screen when using computers, phones or tablets. People tend to hold objects closer and for longer periods of time without changing focus. This causes the eye muscles to become fatigued and unable to relax when shifting focus back to distant objects. The eyes also blink less frequently when focus on near tasks leading to dry eyes, itchiness and burning sensation.
Visual fatigue can be diagnosed through routine eye examination. We offer several treatment solutions to alleviate these problems. While it may not be possible to limit our use of screens,
we can recommend computer glasses with special blue light protective lens coating to filter out these harmful HEV light. It cuts down glare, increase contrast, improve sharpness, and decrease eyes trains all while using digital devices.
Optometrists also recommend that patients observe the 20/20/20 Rule while doing near tasks to relax the eye muscles and improve visual comfort: take a 20 second break after every 20 minutes of near work by focusing on objects that are 20 feet away. The use of lubricating drops or artificial tears throughout the working hours can also minimize eye dryness. With children, parents are urged to limit screen time and to encourage more outdoor activities. When possible, spend more time outdoors away from devices, but don’t forget about the importance of UV protection.