What you need to know to protect your sight
When you wake up in the morning, do you check your smartphone for messages? Then while you are drinking your coffee, are you sifting through email? What about when you go to work, do you log in to view your calendar and set meetings for the day, before starting on a presentation?
If you’re like many Americans, a majority of your day is spent in front of a screen. In fact, The Vision Council reports more than 88 percent of adults are spending more than two hours per day in front of a digital device, and more than 1 in 10 report spending more than three-fourths of their day in front of a screen. It’s no wonder that people are experiencing dry eyes, neck strain, blurred vision and headaches.
What We’re Seeing
One common cause of eye discomfort from digital technology is blue light, a type of light found in TVs, smartphones, tablets and other devices. Although the main source of blue light is the sun, our proximity to screens’ blue light is the real cause for concern. This high-energy light can cause interruptions to sleep, retinal damage, increase risk for macular degeneration and even cancer.
The increased usage of digital technology is also causing more incidences of digital eyestrain, a real health issue for Americans. By squinting and looking at a screen for hours at a time, day after day, your eyes can suffer. They tend to blink less, which causes drier eyes.
Decreasing the Effects
While we continue to learn more about the effects of eyestrain from digital devices, it’s unlikely that the adaption of digital technology is slowing down anytime soon.
Here are ways to mitigate the effects of staring at a digital screen and the exposure to blue light:
• Two to three hours before your bedtime, avoid looking at screens. Read books or the newspaper instead.
• Get outdoors as much as possible during the day. This can help your body regulate daytime and nighttime hours to ensure solid sleep.
• Schedule routine eye exams. Also, tell your doctor how often you regularly stare at a computer screen in your occupation.
• Take frequent breaks from the computer to rest your eyes.
• Adjust your screen display settings to reduce blue light, especially at night.
If your eyes are having serious issues, contact our Ophthalmology and Eye Services department for help.