According to a recent study from the Vision Council, approximately 68 percent of millennials claim that they suffer from digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome (CVS). Digital eye strain is defined as the physical discomfort felt after two or more hours within close or mid-range distance of a digital device such as a desktop or laptop computer, tablet, e-reader or cell phone.
What causes digital eye strain?
There are many causes of digital eye strain. On average, we blink 18 times per minute. However, staring at a digital screen reduces blink rates, which results in dry, scratchy and itchy eyes. Reading emails on a smartphone can cause us to strain our eyes in order to focus, and this can make digital eye strain worse (Source: The Vision Council). Finally, digital devices emit blue light, or high-energy visible light, that causes eye irritation, and prolonged exposure has been known to damage retinal cells.
Who is most at-risk for digital eye strain?
Not surprisingly, those with computer-oriented jobs are most at risk for digital eye strain. Spending a significant amount of time in front of a screen actually changes tear fluid and makes it similar to tear fluid of people with dry eye disease. Young people and those who are tech-savvy are also at higher risk. Millennials are more attached to technology than any other generation, so today’s youth are much more prone to digital eye strain because they have grown up with electronic devices.
How can you avoid digital eye strain?
The best way to prevent digital eye strain is through self-control. The Vision Council advises the 20-20-20 Rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something at least 20 feet away. This helps your eyes resume a normal pattern of blinking and allows your eyes to rest. Take the time to adjust the brightness of your computer screen so it matches the brightness of the lighting in your office or room. Anti-glare screens for computer monitors and special coatings on eyeglass lenses are helpful in preventing squinting. If you are a parent, you should take some time to sit down with your children and share the dangers of digital eye strain and why screen time should be limited.
If you need more suggestions on how to prevent digital eye strain, talk to your ophthalmologist (Source: Mashable).