Do you know how screen use can affect your eye health?

Screen use can negatively affect your eye health. This verdict will come as no surprise to most of you, who would probably have heard it floating around all the other concerns over technology usage and indications that it may not be all that good for our health.

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This is because we live in a digital age where the majority of us, especially in the western world, spend the majority of the time with our eyes fixated on some sort of device – whether it be a smart phone, a television, a computer or a laptop, both the young and the old are rarely separated from these devices. It’s therefore no wonder this subject has come to light.

What are the effects?

Because staring at a screen has become so common place, such a normal everyday activity, studies have been conducted to try to unearth whether the rise in the number of people complaining about headaches, sore eyes and blurred vision (Optometrists call this ‘Digital Eye Strain’ or ‘Computer Vision Syndrome’) is a result of this increased and sustained usage of devices. The jury appears to be out on this one: although experts are yet to gather any reliable evidence about the long-term effects of focusing on these digital screens, the short term effects can have a major impact on our eye health.

There has also been a significant rise in the number of children, particularly in areas of the globe where screen usage is most common, that are reporting short-sightedness. Although this ‘Myopia’ among children can also be caused if the children are to spend more time reading say a book and focusing their eyes in that way more than they do partaking in outdoor activities.

What is Blue Light and how bad is it for our eyes?

Another concern surrounding the prolonged usage of screens on smart devices etc. is the Blue Light that they emit. Blue Light is ‘high energy visible light’, this is extremely bad for our eyes if they are exposed to large quantities of it. According to ophthalmologists, this blue light can have detrimental effects on our eye health but, now this 'but' is important, Professor Hammond of the Scientific Committee of the Royal College has stated that “Even on a grey day outside, your blue light exposure is something like 30-fold more than looking at a tablet or a screen”.

So…I guess there is no need to slam those laptop screens down or to pluck those smart devices from the grips of little fingers just yet in a plight to protect us all from blue light…

Studies have shown that the average person spends more time staring at screens than they do sleeping. Again this probably won’t come as much of a shock to you, however all those headaches and tired eyes your keep suffering with mean something – they are your eyes telling you that they were not designed to focus that close, especially not for extended periods of time.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Making your eyes focus in a way they are not designed to will cause them to strain – your head will pound and your vision may even blur. This can cause your productivity levels to drop – studies have shown that computer eye strain syndrome can cause productivity levels to fall by 29%.

With that said, in order to get your job done and mitigate the effects of eye strain you can sit upright, adjust your screen brightness and follow the 20:20 rule: every 20 minutes look 20 metres away from your screen for 20 seconds – this coupled with regular visits to your eye doctor should help.