Digital eye strain is described as a group of eye and vision related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet and cell phone. It is temporary discomfort that follows two or more hours of digital device use. Symptoms and signs of Eye strain include:
- Sore, tired, burning or itching in the eyes.
- Watery or dry eyes.
- Blurred or double vision.
- Headache, sore neck, shoulder or back.
- increased sensitivity to light
- Difficulty in concentration.
According to a recent study, around 25% children of today’s generation are already facing vision problems and have to wear glasses!
Sometimes it feels that you cannot keep your eyes open. Although eye strain can be uncomfortable, it does not lead to any eye damage. Extended computer use (glances at the smart phone 150 times a day) or inadequate or excessive lighting may cause eye strain but there are no permanent consequences. Eye strain will not damage your eyes or change their anatomy. Smartphone is a necessary evil but one can lessen its use by blending few simple healthy habits as routine while gazing at their smartphone’s screen:
1. Blinking your eyes as frequently as possible: Eyelids are the natural protector of your eyes. No other organ like ear or nose has cover to close it, so please do use eyelids to close the eyes by blinking.
2. 20-20-20 rule: Ophthalmologist recommend 20-20-20 rule i.e. take a break every 20 min and look for at something 20 feet away for at least 20 sec. This exercise helps relieve digital eye strain which can cause dryness or irritation of eyes and blurred vision.
3. Minimize glare by using anti-glare covering– Use a matte screen protector film on top of your smartphone’s screen. If you wear glasses, prefer purchasing lenses with anti-reflective (AR) coating. Even if you don’t wear glasses, you can always purchase a pair of glasses for your self with 0 power lenses.
4. Use proper lighting and adjust the brightness-Excessive bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming through window or from harsh interior lighting stresses your eyes and can cause problems maintaining the focus.
Following practices also proves helpful in maintaining health of your eyes in the longer run while using smartphones or computers:
- Adjust the text size and contrast for comfort especially when reading or composing long documents. It makes it easier to read web content, e-mail messages, calendar appointment or anything else on the phone.
- Keep a clean screen by routinely wiping smartphone’s screen with a dry clean cloth to remove dust, grime, smudges and finger prints.
- Hold your smartphone further away than you are used to. Try holding it at least 16 to 18 inches away from your eyes to give your eyes a break. It might feel funny at first but will not take long to get used to.
Smartphone overuse may damage eyes, says opticians. HEV light (also called blue light) may acutely harm the eyes permanently by damaging the tissue in the retina, leading to macular degeneration.
- Blinking helps to refocus your eyes.
- Get a comprehensive eye examination done every now and then.
- A warm compress is a great way to relax your eye muscles and will also relieve dry eyes. Dip a soft clean cloth with warm water and place it on your closed eye lids in relaxing position.
- To reduce eye strain, gently massage your eyelids daily.