The number of people spending numerous hours a day on their cell phones, tablets, and computers has risen dramatically in the past few years. In fact, roughly 90% of us spend at least a couple of hours a day on devices. The question on many minds is whether the human eye can handle that much use or will a majority of people face ocular conditions down the road.
It is always challenging to gauge the long-term effects of lifestyle changes and new technology, but optometrists are already seeing their patients complain of more dry eye issues. When we concentrate on a computer screen, cell phone or other digital device, we naturally blink less. If you’ve ever noticed burning and itchiness, you should be concerned that your eyes aren’t getting the tearing they need for optimal health. Blue light that emits from devices is also a concern, but we just don’t know the long-term ramifications yet.
There are a few things you can do to avoid ocular conditions both in the short and long term. First, take breaks. A good rule of thumb is to take a break every 20 minutes. Look away for at least 20 seconds, preferably to something across the room. Concentrate on blinking. Although it comes naturally, if you think about it, you can avoid the reduction in blinking that happens. Practice good posture that will keep you a safe distance from your computer screen and be sure to position the screen to reduce glare. It is best not to tilt it upward. There is also specialized eyewear that can reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes. Talk about this and other ways to avoid ocular conditions with your optometrist.
Finally, if you can’t reduce your screen time, which is also recommended, be sure to schedule regular visits with your optometrist to check for ocular conditions and keep your eyes healthy. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call at Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry.