Technology was designed to make our daily tasks easier and more efficient while requiring less brain power and manpower. Computers, smartphone and tablets offer countless opportunities for learning, communicating and entertaining, but there is a downside to these devices as well. They are damaging our eyesight.
Today, 44 million Americans are nearsighted. There are many theories as to why the increase in myopia, but one plausible theory is linked to the overuse of cell phones, iPads, e-readers and computers. Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome is a legitimate concern nowadays with symptoms of blurred vision, dry eye, headaches, neck strain, and shoulder pain. Eye doctors often have to increase nearsighted prescriptions for patients who overuse electronic devices, and many of these patients are teenagers or young adults.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearsightedness becomes more prevalent as students advance through school. Interestingly, studies have shown that only 24 percent of people who had no high school education or training were nearsighted compared to 53 percent of college graduates.
There is certainly a genetic component to myopia, which means that certain children are predisposed to become nearsighted, but developing vision in young people can be harmed by overuse of electronic devices. High energy visible light, known as blue light, can damage retinal cells and even cause age-related macular degeneration. Therefore, it is important for people of all ages to take frequent breaks and not sit too close to digital screens. An easy rule to remember is the 20-20-20 Rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and focus on an object at least 20 feet away (Source: Bowling Green Daily News).
Changes in vision are normal, but the best way to maintain your eye health is to have regular comprehensive eye exams for your whole family. Your eye doctor will be able to inform you of any concerns about your vision and give you practical tips on how to protect your eyes from Digital Eye Strain.