How Does Technology Affect Our Eyes?

Most of us spend several hours a day on laptops, smartphones or iPads. With so much of our day involving staring at a brightly lit screen, have you ever stopped to think how all that screen time is affecting your eyes?

Excessive use of brightly lit screens can cause both minor ailments and long-term sight problems. Some of these effects include:

Eye Strain: When we stare at computers or handheld devices for a long time, we can develop eye strain. When we look at things close up, our pupils get smaller and the muscles in the eye adjust to the size of the lens. This causes the two eyes to converge and is a normal 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 uncomfortable headaches.

Tension Headaches: Staring at a screen that is too bright, especially if you are viewing dark text against bright white, can lead to muscle spasms around the temple. These spasms can lead to stressful tension headaches.

Dry Eye: Your eyelids work somewhat like windshield wipers, using tears to keep your eyes sharp, glossy and comfortable. While looking at devices we tend to blink less, and this in turn leads to dry eyes. Staring at a screen for long periods of time can therefore cause dryness of the eyes, grit and itchiness. This can be especially irritating for contact lens wearers. 

Thankfully, there are easy ways to reduce the effects of technology on our eyes:

  • Apply the 20-20-20 rule: take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes, and view something 20 feet away. This allows the eyes to relax back to parallel from the convergence they experience staring at images that are too near.
  • Match the room lighting to the brightness on your device screen which also reduces eye strain.
  • To minimize your chances of developing dry eye when viewing a screen, try to blink frequently. Doing so will keep the front surface of your eye moist.
  • Get glasses specifically targeted to reduce eye strain. These glasses offer lenses that have an anti-reflective coating and a light tint that protects against short-wavelength, blue-light.

There is no doubt that our cell phones, laptops, tablets, personal computers and all other screens in between, can have an effect on our eye health. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or website to learn more.

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