In modern society, there is an ever-increasing dependence on technology. For many, items such as smartphones, computers, laptops, and tablets have become a regular and important part of their day-to-day lives. Both personally and professionally, people have become dependent on technology to make their jobs, school work, and lives easier. In addition, televisions, video games, and video downloads are common forms of entertainment that can occupy large amounts of one’s time. For some, this has raised concerns that spending long periods using devices with bright screens could damage the health of their eyes.
There has been some concern that computer screens may emit radiation that could cause eye problems, such as cataracts, for example. But according to health professionals, the regular use of technology does not cause damage to the eyes or one’s vision. Additionally, any radiation that comes from a modern screen is miniscule. This does not, however, mean that the eyes are not affected by using today’s technological devices. People who regularly work on computers, use a tablet, or play video games for hours may experience what is called computer vision syndrome. This is a collection of eye-related problems that are directly related to long sessions viewing video display monitors. The foundation of these problems is eye strain. Eye strain is often accompanied by problems such as eye redness, blurred or doubled vision, and eye dryness. Headaches are another problem associated with eye strain, as is pain in the shoulders and neck. Some eye-care professionals also believe that the excessive use of technology during childhood increases one’s risk of becoming nearsighted, particularly when less time is spent using the eyes in natural light outdoors. This belief comes from a near 50 percent increase in cases of myopia that has occurred over the past 50 years.
There are ways that people can combat eye strain and the other symptoms of computer vision syndrome. One simple solution is to take frequent breaks from looking at computers or other devices with a screen. These breaks should occur roughly every 20 minutes and should last for 20 seconds. Because people blink less frequently when concentrating, their eyes tend to dry out. To prevent irritation from dryness, people should make a conscious effort to blink while working on their computers. Artificial tear drops can also help resolve feelings of eye dryness. Glare is yet another problem that can contribute to eye discomfort and strain. To resolve this issue, one may use an anti-glare screen on the computer or tablet in question. Repositioning the monitor may also be helpful. Relocating the screen can help relieve eye strain in several ways. In addition to cutting down on glare, proper positioning can make the screen more comfortable to use. An ideal position is to place the screen so that it is approximately 4 inches or 15 degrees below eye level.
People should also have their eyes checked for visual changes in need of correcting. For some, a pair of computer glasses may also be necessary. Computer glasses are prescription single-vision eyeglasses that are meant to improve one’s vision and reduce eye strain while using a computer. Ideally, they should have a coating to reduce glare and a tint that will help block the blue light that comes from the computer screen. These glasses should not, however, be worn for anything other than computer use, as they are set specifically for the distance one sits from their monitor.
Although technology does not damage the eyes, continued advances in technology are promising to make the eyes healthier and their care easier. Some interesting advances include 3-D printing of an eye. A 3-D printed prosthetic eye would be less expensive and could be made to better match an individual’s current eye. Another example of new technology is implants for measuring the eye pressure of individuals with glaucoma. In addition, the implants can send information to a doctor. Other implants include a miniature telescope for people with age-related macular degeneration. The telescopes are designed to help improve the central vision of people with advanced cases of the condition.
Read any of the following links for information about digital eye strain and the use of technology:
- How Computer Use Affect Your Vision
- Computers and Your Eyes
- Computer Use and Eye Strain
- Health Risks of Using Mobile Phones
- Are Computer Screens Damaging Your Eyes?
- American Optometric Association: Computer Vision Syndrome
- Eye Care Essentials for Computer Users
- Eye Safety at the Computer
- Eye Strain and VDTs
- Protecting Your Vision: Facts and Fiction
- Is Too Much Screen Time Harming Children’s Vision?
- Digital Eye Strain
- Vision Facts and Myths
- How to Keep Computer Screens from Destroying Your Eyes
- Advances in Vision
- Advances in Vision Technology