How is the digital world affecting our eyes?

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Have you ever noticed that after a long work day you always have a headache? Maybe you have noticed this headache, or eye strain, or pain behind the eyes, after staring intensely at your computer or phone for a long amount of time… Well, the two are definitely correlated.

Technology is amazing, it has made our lives so much easier and has enabled various breakthroughs and discoveries, created job opportunities, enabled us to stay in touch and connect with friends and family, etc. But, there is, of course, the toll that is taken on our eyes, which weren’t constructed to stare at a screen all day. These days, adults in the United States on average spend almost 11 hours of their day engaging in some sort of media-related activity. This, of course, consists mostly of the use of smartphones, computers, television, tablets, etc. And over time, this number of hours has only continued to increase.

So, what are the consequences of our constant dependency and visual interaction with technology? A little thing called DES or digital eye strain. Many people have experienced or suffered from DES before but just didn’t know what they were experiencing. Digital eye strain is basically a category of the eye and vision-related problems and symptoms that are a consequence of overexposure to a computer or other digital device. You may be surprised to realize that you can experience DES from just staring at your digital devices for two or more hours each day.

So, what are the symptoms?

  • Headaches
  • Eye aches
  • Noticeable eye strain
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Dryness of the eyes (from decreased blinking)
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakened vision
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty focusing

Why do these symptoms occur?

Typically, the issues that cause this are related to the following:

  • You are blinking less
    • When you are focusing on a screen, sometimes the communication between your brain to your eyes gets disrupted from the intense concentration, this can lead you to end up blinking less, which is damaging to your eyes.
  • You are eyes aren’t built for the angle
    • Our eyes can strain from staring at something straight ahead of us (like a computer screen) as they are more exposed to the environment as opposed to when we are looking down at a book, where our eyelids cover and protect more of the eye.
  • You are too close to the screen
    • People have a tendency to sit too close to computer screens or to bring their digital devices too close to their faces. This can cause strain and discomfort to our eyes as they try to focus.

Possible eye-related issues as a result of overexposure

There are eye-related issues that can be a consequence of overexposure to a screen. These typically include retina damage, increased risk of cataracts, and of course the ongoing symptoms that were mentioned above.

Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to simply say you won’t use your digital devices to avoid eye strain, as they are typically a necessary requirement for our daily tasks, especially those working behind a computer screen. But, it is however important to also remember to take care of your eyes while doing so. Take frequent breaks from staring at the screen and try not to do it more than what is necessary. You should also make sure that you are regularly visiting your Arlington optometrist to make sure your eyes are in proper health.

If you are looking for a trusted eye doctor, here at First Eye Care, we can be just that. Our trusted and caring team will take care of you and your family’s visual health and visual needs. Contact us or come by today and let us help you to start seeing things a bit more clearly.

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