How Technology Can Affect Your Eyes
Most of us spend several hours a day typing on laptops, reading on Kindles, messaging on our smartphones or surfing the web on our iPads. Almost everything we do involves staring at a brightly lit screen.
Have you ever stopped to think what all that screen time is doing to your eyes?
Excessive use of brightly lit screens can cause both minor ailments and long term sight problems.
“ocular discomfort can be a result of too much technology”
Dr. Richard Shugarman
According to Live Science, there are three main eye-related ailments that can result from too much screen time:
There is a reason that the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook display black text on a grey background. It is because reading dark print on an extremely bright background, such as when you are typing a word document or reading a blog, can lead to muscle spasms around the temple. These spasms lead to debilitating stress headaches.
Avoid tension headaches by moderating the time you spend on brightly lit screens, and only reading long ebooks on specially designed reading devices.
When we look at something in the distance, our eyes automatically blink more regularly. Your eyelids work like windscreen wipers, using tears to keep you eyes sharp, glossy and comfortable. Your blink rate slows, however, when you look at things at closer quarters. This means that tears evaporate quicker than usual, and your eyes become dry.
Staring at a screen for long periods of time can therefore cause acute dryness of the eyes, grit collection and itchiness. This is especially irritating for contact lens wearers.
Keep a keen watch on the dryness of your eyes, and if they become too sore and itchy, take a break from the screen.
When we look at things close up, our eyes also converge. Our pupils get smaller and the muscles in the eye adjust to the size of the lens. This causes the two eyes to converge. This is a part of the eye’s function.
Spending hours looking at a computer, tablet or smartphone screen, however, causes the eyes to converge for much longer than is comfortable. Keeping our eyes converged for long periods of time strains the muscles, and can lead to extremely uncomfortable headaches.
Take regular breaks from the screen to allow your eyes to readjust, and spend some time in parallel alignment.
“Rates of short sightedness among young people have soared because of smartphones”
David Allamby, Founder of Focus Clinics
In more recent years, experts have discovered that the blue-violet light found in low energy lighting, and most digital screens – laptops, smartphones and tablets – is harmful to retinal cells over a long period of time. It is believed that this long term damage can accelerate the onset of age related macular degeneration (AMD).
Founder of Focus Clinics, David Allamby, has also seen a 35% increase in the amount of people with advancing myopia (short-sightedness) since the launch of smartphones in 1997. Furthermore, where myopia used to stop advancing in our mid 20s, optometrists are seeing developing myopia throughout the 20s, 30s and 40s. This is accredited to excessive screen watching. Spending so much time with a screen so close to our face is unbdoubtedly taking its toll.
We understand that tablets, smartphones and laptop screens have become an integral part of our daily work and private lives. Where would we be without them?
All we ask is that, in the future, you think about taking regular, short breaks from the screen. Give your eyes a rest. We promise, they’ll thank you for it.
If you are experiencing regular tension headaches, or have noticed a deterioration in your sight, come in and see us as soon as possible. We’ll be happy to help.