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The effects of screens on visual health

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The effects of screens on visual health

Increasingly, research is focused on studying the impact of screens on visual health, due to the increased use of electronic devices. Sight is a mind that is highly exposed to the effects of screens.

In the world of medicine, especially ophthalmology, more and more studies are emerging regarding the effects of screens on visual health. Eye examinations regarding altered vision as a result of the use of electronic devices have increased greatly.

Hence the concept of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) has arisen. This condition is when the exposure to screens is longer than 3 hours per day or if the brightness of the screen is above the recommended level. It also occurs when the distance between a person’s eyes and the screen is too short.

As we know, modern life means constant use of a variety of screens. We use televisions, tablets, mobile phones and computers regularly and often. We’ve even started getting screens in home appliances. Our eyes spend their days struggling to focus in different ways to interpret these entities. Often we spend the vast majority of our efforts looking at our cell phones. Because we hold them at a short distance from our heads, we force the binocular vision of our eyes.

When we stare into a screen for an extended period of time, our eyelids move 30% less than they normally do. This reduces the amount of moisture, which means that our eyes become more dehydrated. If you are unsure about how screens affect visual health; continue reading this article. We tell you about the symptoms and the recommendations you can follow. You can solve the problem with simple steps.

The symptoms

When we understand the screen’s impact on visual health, we understand the logic behind the symptoms. It’s about looking for signs of eye strain that is the result of too much strain.

Among the most common symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome we can mention the following:

  • Blurred or double vision: This is called diplopia in medical terms.
  • A sandy feeling in the eyeball: This leads to an intense rubbing of the eye.
  • Red eyes: This is due to irritation and inflammation of the eye, as well as constant rubbing.
  • Pain behind the eyes.
  • Headaches: Visual fatigue can lead to headaches. Headaches can also come from mobile phones and the position of our heads when we use them.

Impact

A series of mechanisms unconsciously come into play when using screens. One of the fundamental questions about the impact of screens on visual health has to do with our ability to focus. Our eyes, at rest, find it easy to focus on objects that are far away. But when they have to focus on something nearby, they trigger compensatory mechanisms that require effort. This adaptation leads to fatigue.

 

In addition, the concentration that screens require is very exhausting. Our eyes tend to stay open for longer periods and we blink less. On average, we blink over eye 15 to 20 times per minute. But when using a screen, it can reduce the number to 3 times per minute.

Last but not least; screens emit a significant amount of blue light. This blue light is a fragment of the light spectrum that can penetrate the retina and which causes it to deteriorate over time.

Blue light and visual health

The blue light emitted by electronics and more devices like it  is both are harmful. Thanks to this blue light, the device can use less electricity. However, research has shown that the same light is dangerous for the health of our retinas.

The sun also emits blue light. Therefore, our eyes have been living with this kind of light since the day we were born. The problem with the blue light coming from screens, however, is that it comes from a source much closer to our eyes. And this is what causes harm. Physically, blue light is a short-wave and high-energy light. Because of these characteristics, our eyes have to make a greater effort to focus.

Recommendations to reduce the impact of screens on visual health

There are several basic measures that we can use on a daily basis to reduce the impact of screens on visual health:

  • Rest your eyes: For work that requires you to look at a computer screen; take time to relax. Practice looking away from the screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds and focus on an object 20 meters away.
  • Create a healthy distance: The screens should be at least 60 cm from our eyes. For larger screens, such as TVs, the distance should be at least 180 cm.
  • Blinking: We already know that we blink less when using the screen. Because of this, we must make a conscious effort and force ourselves to blink when we spend time at electronic devices. This provides moisture to the eyeball.
  • Good lighting: Using electronic devices in low-light environments is counterproductive our eyes have to work harder and the effect of screen light on the retina increases.

The answer is not to give up screens entirely. Today, in the world we live in, that would be impossible. What we should do, however, is apply these recommendations to reduce the harmful impact screens have on our visual health.