Our Eyes are an Engineering Marvel, Protect Them
- Digital Eye Strain Is Destroying Your Eyes
Here is how to identify it, protect yourself, and begin reversing the impact.
Eyes are a marvel of biological engineering; small and powerful, they drives our thoughts, actions, and behavior.
It is how humans, mostly experience the world.
We obtain new knowledge with this organic tool through reading, through stories told on the big screen, and by watching others.
Our eyes are also an integral part in regulating sleep patterns, hormone production, and regulating the body’s time clock i.e., circadian rhythm.
But there is a problem developing.
As the pervasiveness of our digital devices increases, as well as the time we spend staring into them for school, work, and entertainment, our exposure to digital eyestrain is only going up.
From phone to watch to computer to tablet to TV, people are likely spending more time staring into a screen than into others human eyes.
The Bog Q: what are we to do?
- The Facts: showing how pervasive eye problems are becoming in America
- Blue Light: show you ways to block blue light that can be potentially damaging
- Digital Eye Strain: an explanation of this affliction happening to more people than ever
- Solutions: we provide you a variety of ways to protect yourself from digital eye strain
There can be a lot of misinformation out there on the internet so you have to be careful about not just what you read with those valuable eyes of yours, but also where you read it from. Credibility is key.
That’s why we took a gander over at The Vision Council’s thoughts on the matter of digital eyestrain. To give you a bit of context, they’ve been around since the 1940’s and, along with the Better Vision Institute, are a membership organization aimed at meeting the evolving needs of the vision industry at large.
Americans report experiencing the following symptoms of digital eye strain:
- 32.6% report experiencing eye strain
- 22.7% report experiencing dry eyes
- 21.4% report experiencing headache
- 22% report experiencing blurred vision
- 30.8% report experiencing neck and shoulder pain
Americans are becoming increasingly digitized, with more of our daily tasks moving online. For example:
- 75.6% use a computer to do research
- 56.6% use a smart phone as an alarm clock
- 54.2% use a computer to go shopping
- 53.7% use a smart phone to check the weather
- 48.7%use a computer to find a recipe
Digital eye strain is becoming a family affair, affecting all age groups. The following report using digital devices for more than two hours per day:
- 87.7% of those ages 18 to 39
- 82.6% of those ages 40 to 59
- 76.3% of those ages 60 and up
We are looking at devices longe, and it’s causing problems beyond just our eyesight.
How To Block Blue Light From Your Devices
The most abundant light emitted by most all digital displays is Blue. Blue light is the short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than longer wavelength hues, such as orange and red. Blue light is what gives screens their brightness, and in order for a screen to be visible, it needs a lot of it:
To combat Blue light, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) recently released a software update across all their devices to address this after a product called Flux was gaining popularity in the marketplace.
Apple calls it Night Shift and it’s a setting that dims and shifts your display to a warmer orange light at night. Reducing the color temperature of your display lowers the amount of blue light emitted by a color display for better long-term viewing comfort.
Apple provides step-by-step support documentation for Night Shift on both the iPhone and the MacBook.
Alternatively, you can download Flux for your Windows machine or go to Settings; Display on your Android device where there will typically be a “Night Light” or “Night Mode” switch.
But not all Blue light is bad: Reasons. This is the area that digital devices produce and this blue light is the only light that penetrates the eye all the way to the back to the retina. Blue light between 380 and 470nm is considered bad Blue light because it can cause accumulated damage to the retina, cause cataracts, and is linked to sleep disorders. But, the Blue light from 470 to 500nm is generally considered good for you. This range of visible Blue light is beneficial because it provides natural reflexes protecting eyes from light overexposure, helps with the body’s circadian rhythms, and helps cognitive and memory function.
Digital eye strain is important, especially when we are all spending the vast majority of our lives looking at screens. People need some help that goes beyond just adjusting the backlight of the display.
Explaining Digital Eye Strain
This is a real affliction affecting real people.
I know 1st hand because I have experienced some of the symptoms myself.
Digital Eye Strain, aka Computer Vision Syndrome is not one specific problem, but encompasses a variety of issues related to eye pain like fatigue, dry eyes, and blurred vision.
WebMD describes it as such: “Digital Eye Strain or computer vision syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries you might get at work. It happens because your eyes follow the same path over and over. And it can get worse the longer you continue the movement.
When you work at a computer, your eyes have to focus and refocus all the time. They move back and forth as you read. You may have to look down at papers and then back up to type. Your eyes react to changing images on the screen to create so your brain can process what you’re seeing. All these jobs require a lot of effort from your eye muscles. And to make things worse, unlike a book or piece of paper, the screen adds contrast, flicker, and glare.
You’re more likely to have problems if you already have eye trouble, if you need glasses but don’t have them, or if you wear the wrong prescription for computer use.
Computer work gets harder as you age and the lenses in your eyes becomes less flexible. Somewhere around age 40, your ability to focus on near and far objects will start to go away. Your eye doctor will call this condition presbyopia.”
For something that affects 70% of Americans, you would think that there would be more people talking about it, more blogs covering it, and the alarm bell ringing. But when something becomes so pervasive that we all consider it the “new normal”, maybe that’s when we really should start paying attention to it.
Big Q2: Why this is happening?
I have worn glasses all of my adult life, and regardless of doctor or source, I get the same answer about what is happening physiologically when I look at a computer screen or smartphone all day.
The Big A: It is about viewing things up close.
When we focus our eyes on something within a 1 or 2 ft away, what is happening is that the eye muscles and cornea are is being flexed as hard as they can to focus light precisely to that distance Vs when we look far away, the eye is relaxed.
The eye’s muscles are thin, fragile element of 1 of the most important sensory input mechanisms our brain uses to navigate the world, so it is Key to be careful with them
This begs the question; what we can do to address our ever-increasing digital eye strain ?
Solutions for Digital Eye Strain
There are a few simple, easy solutions for protecting the eyes against prolonged computer, display, phone, and TV use.
What I did, after a thorough eye exam was to buy a pair of specially designed eye glasses with custom lenses designed protect my eyes from the harsh Blue light and refresh rates of display screens, plus I installed a program on my machine to regulate the light throughout the day, I am in the LTN Newsroom virtually 24/7 it seems.
In addition to eyewear solutions The Vision Council offer other ways to relieve digital eye strain to maximize work performance.
They include include:
- Following the 20–20–20 rule, taking a 20-sec break from the screen every 20 mins and looking at something 20 ft away
- Reducing overhead lighting to eliminate screen glare
- Positioning yourself at arm’s distance away from the screen for proper viewing distance when at a computer
- Increasing text size on devices to better define content on the screen
I carry my computer glasses wherever I go, where them when in front of a screen and protect my precious vision.
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