We were all warned as children not to stare at the television screen all day with baseless threats from our parents like “you’ll go blind” or “your eyes are going to get stuck like that,” only to spend most of our day staring at a computer screen. It turns out our parents were right, sort of. There have been many claims of the health hazards of electronic devices over the years. Some of them have been debunked, and others have been shelved until more data can be collected.
The Blue Light Myth
For a while, there was a collective fear of the evil blue LED light radiating from all of our devices. People claimed that this particular color was the most harmful and could cause macular degeneration (blindness or at least loss of vision). Research has shown that not to be true; however, blue light does affect our circadian rhythms (our internal biological clocks). The circadian rhythms regulate our natural sleep-wake cycles, so in theory, the blue light could disrupt the process, and bad sleeping habits have been scientifically linked to other health concerns. Experts advise those affected to limit their use of such devices, especially at night.
Computer Vision Syndrome
It seems that the blue LED lights will not permanently damage your eyes but staring at screens over a long term may cause some unwanted side effects. Researchers have, of course, cleverly named this occurrence “computer vision syndrome,” or digital device eye strain. The data shows that over 50% of people who work with a computer screen experience symptoms indicative of CVS. It makes sense since about 83% of American adults use a digital device for more than two hours a day. Studies show that 72% of children also use these devices for a minimum of two hours per day.
The symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include:
– Blurred Vision
– Double Visions
– Dry/Red Eyes
– Neck or back pain
Children have also exhibited other symptoms like irritability, poor behavior, and reduced attention span. Some scientists even claim that the increase in nearsightedness cases is due to the amount of screen time we experience.
Easy Changes to Improve Your Symptoms
Luckily there are a few simple changes one can make to their work environment to improve your symptoms and hopefully prevent future issues.
The first thing you want to do is manage your workspace. Your screen should be just below eye level, about 20 to 30 inches from your face. The screen should also be tilted back enough to reduce any stress on the eye muscles and prevent glares for nearby lights. Glares from any light sources should also be avoided. You can even install a filter on your monitor to help you with this.
Next, you can customize the settings on your computer to best suit your eyes. The font, contrast, and brightness are all easily adjustable to your needs. You also want to remember to blink often when looking at screens, so your eyes don’t get dried out. This also helps clear out any irritants in the eyes.
Lastly, remember the 20-20-20 rule. You should take time to rest your eyes by looking away from the computer at least every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
Remember To See A Doctor If..
Be sure to visit your doctor if you’ve been experiencing any vision problems, especially after a long day of computer work. If left unchecked, vision problems can become worse over time, so it is important to stay updated with your eye health. We now have special glasses used specifically for looking at computer screens all day, so the solutions to your headaches may be as simple as that.