Have you been staring at the screen too long?
The Alberta Association of Optometrists wants to help raise awareness of digital eye strain, a growing trend, particularly among women and adults in general.
Calgary Buzz talked with Optometrist Dr. Farrah Sunderji about digital eye strain here in Calgary.
“It’s a very common symptom we notice in the office, especially when you work with people who are in front of screens all day, and that’s a good chunk of the population,” says Sunderji.
“It’s not just adults, but also kids are spending a lot of time in front of a digital screen whether it’s their iPad or computer,” Sunderji adds.
She explains that usually after two hours of use people complain of eye strain and fatigue from being on a computer screen — that’s when they usually come to their optometrist.
Digital devices, such as our beloved computers, and phones, emit blue light, which research suggests can damage retinal cells if exposed for long periods of time.
A new report released by The Vision Council finds that 65% of adults experience digital eye strain due to prolonged use of electronic devices. On average 60% of adults spend more than five hours each day using a digital device, and are unaware of its potential dangers.
The Alberta Association of Optometrists offers the following simple solutions, especially for us frequent digital device users, to ease the strain screen time can cause on our eyes.
Sunderji adds that for those who are on the computer for long periods of time and need glasses, there are specially-designed computer task lenses.
“The main things are if the patients are experiencing any eye strain, fatigue, not to just dismiss it, come in and see your optometrist. We can talk to you about what are your options, what’s going on, evaluate the health of your eye, and make sure everything is good.”
In addition to practicing healthy digital device eye habits, it’s important to get your vision checked on a regular basis. Adults should book an eye exam once every year, according to The Alberta Association of Optometrists. Many serious eye diseases have no symptoms and can only be detected through a comprehensive eye exam; even someone who has 20/20 vision may be at risk.
5 tips on how to avoid digital eye strain
- Increase text size to better define the content on your screen
- Wear Computer eyewear with blue light blocking lenses
- Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break, and stare at something 20 feet away
- When using a computer, sit in your chair and extend your arm. Your palm should rest comfortably on the monitor
- Computer eyewear can be tailored to be occupational lenses or progressive lenses