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How Regular Exposure to Technology Affects Your Eyes

There’s no doubt that our screen time is increasing, and many of us may be wondering what effect this is having on our health and our eyes. How good is it for us to be staring at screens for a large proportion of our time? Various studies have shown that we are in front of screens a huge proportion of our days, with one study citing it being around 10 hours per day. If you work a computer-based job, have a smartphone, and watch television or use your computer for entertainment, or read on an e-reader, you can see how it can easily increase. Read on to find out how best to protect your eyes in this digital age.

What does technology do to your eyes?

There’s no large scale research yet that shows that screen time can cause permanent damage to your eyes, but staring at bright screens can cause smaller scale issues. Many people will visit an optometrist noting that they feel discomfort in their eyes and think something is wrong with their vision, without realising that the discomfort can be coming from spending too much time on technology.

What are the common eye problems of screen usage?

The most common symptom is tension headaches, dry eyes and eye strain. Bright screens can cause headaches due to overexposing your eyes to devices, and the tension comes from the connection between the eyes and the brain. Eye strain also is caused by staring at a screen for an extended period of time. Since screens are generally close to our eyes, our blink rates slow down which causes dry eyes.

How do you best protect your eyes from digital devices?

It’s really important to make sure that you have a comprehensive eye exam annually, so a specialist can check for any damage or problems. Making sure you have the correct glasses, if you require them, is the best thing you can do to protect your eyes. A lot of the problems that come from screen usage are due to the brightness and the amount of time spent in front of a screen. Taking short breaks every 20 minutes and a larger break away from your devices every hour can do wonders for strained eyes. Turning down the brightness on your screen reduces blue light and using ‘night modes’ or applications such as f.lux which adjusts a screen's display colour temperature at different parts of the day.

What is blue light and how does it affect your eyes?

Our digital devices emit a significant amount of blue light, and there is concern from eye health specialists about what the long term effects may be. The eye is not very good at blocking blue light so it goes all the way to the retina, and some studies have shown that too much exposure to blue light can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina, although more research is needed to investigate how much is “too much”. Protective eyewear has been developed that protects your eyes from this form of light, and reducing the brightness can help too.

Want to find out more on how best to protect and look after your eyes? Contact Blur Eyecare in Tauranga or Mt Maunganui today.