Digital screens and eye health

Computers, tablets and phones are now indispensable for us. Especially during the pandemic process, even children started to spend half of the day in front of the screen. So how do these devices affect our eye health? How can we protect our eyes? Should I Use Resting Glasses?

Today, there are almost no people who do not use tablets, phones and computers. Do we know how these devices affect our eye health? What should we do to protect our eyes?

DO DIGITAL DISPLAYS BAD THE EYE?

The average employee spends seven hours a day in front of a computer, working from the office or from home. There is no definite information that looking at digital screens for a long time, as it is said among the people, distorts the eye, that is, it creates refractive errors such as myopia, astigmatism and hyperopia. However, some studies from the past to the present show that people who are exposed to artificial light for a long time are more likely to develop myopia. In a study conducted in the USA, children who spend most of the day outside and children who spend most of the day indoors were compared and more eye disorders were found in children who spent most of the day indoors. It has been emphasized that this is due to the fact that sun rays are more beneficial for the normal development of the eye than artificial lights. Again, in a study on Eskimos; It is reported that while myopia was seen in Eskimos years ago, it was almost negligible, but the incidence of myopia in Eskimos has increased in recent years. It was emphasized that the incidence of eye disorders increased with the settled life of Eskimos. In summary, there is no definite information that digital screens spoil our eyes. However, it should not be forgotten that there is no certain information that it does not spoil.

Apart from this, many people apply to an ophthalmologist due to eye discomfort and vision problems while watching digital screens for a long time. The level of discomfort increases with the amount of digital screen usage. This situation translates to Turkish; It has entered the medical literature as a disease called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which we can translate as the disease of looking at the digital screen.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Causes and risk factors

Watching a computer or digital screen often makes the eyes work harder. As a result, computer and digital screen viewing and high visual stimuli cause many people to develop vision-related symptoms. Viewing a computer or digital screen is different from reading a printed page. Often the letters on the computer or handset are not so precise or sharply defined. The background contrast level of letters is reduced and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen can make viewing difficult.

The distances and angles used for this type of work are often different from those used for other read or write jobs. As a result, digital screens put additional strain on our eyes in terms of eye focus and eye movements. In addition, even the presence of minor vision problems can significantly affect comfort and performance when using a computer or other digital display devices. Uncorrected or poor visual impairments may be major contributing factors to computer-related eye strain. Even people who wear glasses or contact lenses may find that they can’t see clearly, except at certain distances, when looking at a computer screen. People who have eye disorders but do not use glasses or whose eye degree does not fit their eyes; they involuntarily squint their eyes at the screen or look at the computer from different angles by tilting their head. Apart from eye pain and fatigue, this can cause postural disturbances and muscle spasms or pain in the neck, shoulder or back.

Uncorrected vision problems

Poor lighting.

Extremely bright digital displays

Improper viewing distances

bad sitting posture

A combination of these factors.

The greatest risk of developing CVS is people who spend two or more hours continuously at a computer or use a digital display device every day. The most common symptoms associated with CVS or digital eyestrain are:

Eye strain and pain around the eyes

Headache

Blurred vision and halo around the image

Dry eye, burning, stinging and redness of the eyes

Neck and shoulder pain

The extent to which people are bothered by their visual symptoms often depends on their level of vision and the amount of time they spend looking at a digital screen. Uncorrected vision problems such as myopia and astigmatism can cause poor focusing of the eyes or strain on eye coordination abilities. Near vision impairment, which is called presbyopia and occurs with aging, can contribute to the development of visual symptoms when using a computer or digital display device. Most of the visual symptoms experienced by users are temporary and subside after computer work or digital device use is stopped. However, some people may experience persistently reduced vision, such as blurred vision, even after they stop working at the computer. If nothing is done to address the cause of the problem, the symptoms will continue to recur and will worsen with future digital display use.

Diagnosis

CVS, or digital eye strain, can be diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam. First of all, the presence of general health problems, medications or environmental factors that may contribute to the symptoms experienced by the patient and the symptoms related to computer use should be determined. Any refractive errors should be determined and, if any, corrected. Some eyes have too much focusing power and the true eye degree may not be revealed during the examination. In such a case, an eye examination with drops can be performed. It should be tested how the eyes focus, move and whether both eyes work together in coordination. Sometimes, there may be hidden shifts that are not noticed in the routine, which disrupts focus and coordination. It should be checked whether there is existing dry eye in people. With the results of a detailed eye exam and other tests, CVS or digital eye strain is detected and can suggest treatment options.

Treatment

Solutions to digital display-related vision problems are varied. However, symptoms can usually be alleviated by regular eye checks and making changes to the way the screen is displayed. People with eye disorders should definitely use glasses suitable for their eyes. However, some glasses wearers may express that their current glasses are insufficient to relieve symptoms. In this case, glasses designed specifically for computer use may be necessary. Special glass designs, glass tints or filter coatings can help maximize visual capabilities and comfort. People who do not need the use of glasses for other daily activities may encounter symptoms present on digital screens. These people can benefit from glasses that are prescribed especially for computer use. Some computer users experience focusing or eye coordination problems that cannot be adequately corrected with glasses. A vision therapy program may be needed to treat these specific problems. Vision therapy, also called visual education, is a structured program of visual activity prescribed to improve visual abilities. It trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively. These eye exercises help correct eye movements, eye focus deficiencies and strengthen the eye-brain connection.

Precautions to be Taken

Get Regular Eye Checkups

Don’t take it lightly if you have a vision problem. Even if you don’t need glasses for driving, reading or other activities, if you have a minor vision problem that is aggravated by computer use; There may be a small eye disorder that you are not aware of. Going to the ophthalmologist and getting the appropriate glasses for your eyes will greatly reduce your complaints.

Buy Glasses That Fit for Your Business

The glasses you will use should be suitable for the work you are doing. If you use separate glasses for distance vision and separate reading for viewing, both glasses may not provide the most efficient vision for seeing a computer screen approximately 60-65 cm away from the eyes. Before going to the doctor, measure your computer distance and tell your doctor about the situation. This information will help your doctor set the best spectacle rating.

Minimize disturbance from blue light and glare.

Because the wavelength that tires the eye the most is the wavelength of blue light. Blue light from monitors, tablets, and mobile devices, as well as LED and fluorescent lighting, can adversely affect vision in the long run. Special lenses and coatings can reduce the harmful effect of blue light.

Position the computer screen appropriately

Most people find it more comfortable to view the computer with their eyes down. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (approximately 12-13 cm) measured from the center of the screen and 60-65 cm from the eyes.

Adjust the lighting

The computer screen should be positioned to minimize glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows. Blinds or curtains should be used on windows and bulbs in table lamps should be replaced with lower voltage bulbs.

Correct your sitting position

Chairs should be comfortably padded and fit the body. The height of the chair should be adjusted so that the feet are flat on the floor. The arms should be adjusted to provide support while typing and the wrists should not rest against the keyboard while typing.

Take rest breaks

To avoid eye strain, try to rest your eyes when using the computer for a long time. After two hours of continuous computer use, the eyes should be rested for at least 15 minutes. It should also be rested for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to give the eyes a chance to refocus. Eye-rest is not just about quitting computer use. Stopping using the computer and dealing with the phone will not rest our eyes. In order to rest the eyes, we should close our eyes for 20-30 seconds or look away. Thus, our eye muscles, which have been exposed to intense visual stimuli, will relax and relaxation will occur. Again, warm compresses to be applied to our eyes will help our eyes to rest.

Don’t forget to Blink Your Eyes

To minimize the chance of developing dry eye while using a computer, try to blink frequently. Frequent blinking keeps the surface of the eye moist. People with excessive dry eye can use artificial tears.

Last word

No matter what we do, as long as we use our eyes, it will get tired like any of our working limbs. Just as our legs get tired when we walk for a long time, the same is true for our eyes. We can minimize eye strain when necessary precautions are taken. Good day to all our readers.

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