Ojas Eye Hospital in Bandra, Kandivali, Mumbai

Digital Eye Strain

Digital Eye Strain

May 30, 2020

Introduction

Most of our life revolves around the digital screen, be it the computer or laptops, mobiles, and TV screens. This prolonged exposure causes serious damage to our eyes and causes redness and dryness in the eyes. This condition is termed as digital strain or computer eye syndrome or computer vision syndrome. Almost 60% of the people using the digital screen for a long period experience symptoms of computer eye syndrome.

Computer Eye Syndrome Or Digital Strain

When we expose to the digital devices such a computer, laptop, tablets, TV screens, and mobile phones for a prolonged period, there is a feeling of discomfort in our eyes. This is known as computer eye syndrome or digital strain.

This is because digital devices emit blue light rays. When we work on the digital screen, our eyes have to accommodate frequently on the screen. This results in the straining of the eyes. Further, the glare and flickering of light on the screen also play a role in the straining of eyes. Although the digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome doe not damage the vision, they cause discomfort to eyes.

Symptoms Of Digital Strain

Symptoms vary according to the amount of time the person spends on screen. General symptoms of computer eye syndrome are:

  • Eyes become red and dry
  • There would be a pain in the shoulder and neck
  • Headache
  • Ocular strain
  • Blurred vision

Blue Light

When we look at the visible spectrum, the blue light has a shorter wavelength. The light with a shorter wavelength has high energy while the light with higher wavelength has low energy.  This means that blue light possesses higher energy. Although the high energy blue light is beneficial for memory and cognitive function, mood elevation, and increasing alertness, but only when the person is exposed for a limited period.

The current digital device produces much blue light as compared to the devices prevalent a decade ago. The prolonged exposure of blue light is harmful to the body in two ways:

Damaging effects on the retina: Cornea and other ocular structures may prevent the UV radiations to enter into the eyes. However, the blue light passes through the cornea and lens and falls directly on the retina. The high energy light causes retinal degeneration which may result in alteration in vision.

Sleep disturbances: Melatonin is responsible for initiating a proper sleep cycle. Blue light reduces the synthesis of melanin thereby causing sleep disturbances.

Diagnosis Of Digital Eye Strain

Your ophthalmologist will perform a comprehensive ocular examination to diagnose digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. Following tests are performed to diagnose the condition:

Evaluation of the patient: The ophthalmologist will ask various questions from the patient about underlying medical conditions if the patient is on certain medications and working environment. Based on this, the doctor will identify the possible risk factors. The doctor will also evaluate the eyes for redness and dryness.

Vision check-up: The doctor will check the visual acuity of the patient to determine the extent of visual damage of the patient.

Focusing errors: The doctor will check if the eye of the patient properly focuses on the object and provide a unison image.

Refractive error check-up: Ophthalmologist will evaluate the eyes for long-sightedness and short-sightedness or other refractive errors.

Preventing Digital Eye Strain

Proper preventive measures should be followed to prevent digital strain of the eyes or computer eye syndrome. Following are some of the measures:

  • 20-20-20 rule: 20-20-20 rule indicates that you should take 20 seconds to break every 20 minutes by looking at the object which is at least 20 feet away. This will keep your eyes away from stress.
  • Healthy diet: Incorporate vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your diet. Lutein and zeaxanthin improve ocular health.
  • Avoid watching the digital screen for a prolonged period: Do not watch the screen for a prolonged period. Avoid the screen at least 2 hours before going to bed. Further, dim the light of your screen while looking at the digital screen at night.
  • Wear blue light blocking glasses: Wearing blue light blocking glasses help prevent your eyes from getting damaging effects of blue light.

Consult With The Doctor

If you work for a prolonged period on the digital screen and have redness and dryness in the eyes, consult with the best ophthalmologist near you and do follow the preventive measures.

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