Love your eyes. This the popular tagline of one of the largest optical shop chain in the Philippines. Although they are offering tons of eyeglass frames, they never fail to remind us what we’ve been neglecting for a long time—taking care of our eyes. How many hours have you been staring at this screen your facing right now? Two? Five hours? Do you know that prolonged use of digital devices like tablets, mobile phones and laptops may cause Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)? May be you’re unaware of it but once you feel physical discomfort then that’s it—you’re experiencing CVS or also known as ‘Digital Eye Strain.’
Unfortunately, digital detoxification is impossible right now. The stats say it all: the number of computers sold this year is 115M plus while the number of mobile phone users worldwide as of this year is 4.6B. Most of us spend 4.7 hours a day in our smartphones. In America alone, The Vision Council found out “nearly eight out of every 10 Americans who suffer from digital eye strain use two or more devices simultaneously.” We are so wired that based on a study, an average person checks his device 85 times a day.
Moreover, digital devices are part of our daily lives. It is the first thing we boot up when we go to work. Tablets are the new textbooks of this generation. We also use it to connect to our friends and loved ones who are miles apart from us thru social media. Is there any hope for us?
The culprit behind CVS is the blue light emitted by digital devices. Well, we can blame it also from our excessive usage of electronic gadgets but from a technical standpoint, the blue light is the primary cause of it. In a study entitled ‘2016 Digital Eye Strain Report’ by The Vision Council, “cumulative blue light exposure is linked to slow degeneration of the retina, which could accelerate long-term vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.”
Aside from vision-related problems, it can also affect our productivity at work; disrupt our sleeping patterns; and affect our posture. According to American Optometric Association, the common symptoms of CVS are “eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and neck/shoulder pain.”
Let us solve our main problem first—blue light emission. This can be addressed by adjusting the computer’s display settings such that the brightness of the screen should be the same as your surroundings. Viewing black print on a white background is the best practice. You can also reduce the color temperature of your display as well.
Start practicing good digital device usage habits to prevent ‘Digital Eye Strain.’ At work, correct your posture as shown below. Blink more often to produce moisture on your eyes to prevent dryness and itchiness. Install anti-glare screens on your laptop or desktop. Give yourself a break by looking into the distance for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes of screen viewing. More importantly, according to Justin Bazan in the ‘2016 Digital Eye Strain Report,’ “computer eyewear is the first line of defense” against CVS. You might have a hard time choosing eyeglass frames that suits you but don’t forget the lens specifications. Make sure the lens has anti-reflective coating, amber/yellow filters and HEV filters/coatings.