Digital Eye Strain Is Destroying Your Eyes

Digital Eye Strain (sometimes called Computer Vision Syndrome) is not one specific problem, but rather emcompasses a variety of issues related to eye pain like fatigue, dry eyes, and blurred vision.

Digital Eye Strain (computer vision syndrome) is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries you might get at work. It happens because your eyes follow the same path over and over. And it can get worse the longer you continue the movement.

When you work at a computer, your eyes have to focus and refocus all the time. They move back and forth as you read. You may have to look down at papers and then back up to type. Your eyes react to changing images on the screen to create so your brain can process what you’re seeing. All these jobs require a lot of effort from your eye muscles. And to make things worse, unlike a book or piece of paper, the screen adds contrast, flicker, and glare.

You’re more likely to have problems if you already have eye trouble, if you need glasses but don’t have them, or if you wear the wrong prescription for computer use.

Computer work gets harder as you age and the lenses in your eyes becomes less flexible. Somewhere around age 40, your ability to focus on near and far objects will start to go away. Your eye doctor will call this condition presbyopia.

For something that affects 70% of Americans, you would think that there would be more people talking about it, more blogs covering it, and the alarm bell ringing. But when something becomes so pervasive that we all consider it the “new normal”, maybe that’s when we really should start paying attention to it.

But we need to understand why this is happening. I’ve worn contacts for two decades and often ask my eye doctor whether I should be worried about the strain I put on my eyes from the computer work I’ve been doing for decades as well. Regardless of doctor or source, you get the same answer about what’s happening phsiologically when you stare at a computer screen or smart phone all day.

It’s about viewing things up close.

When you focus your eyes on something within a foot or two away, what’s happening is that your eye muscles and cornea are is being flexed as hard as they can to focus light precisely to that distance. When you look far away, your eye is relaxed. So imagine flexing your bicep for 10 hours per day, every day, for decades. With that much stress placed on a muscle for that long, the muscles will get tired and not work as well as they could

Only it’s not a big muscle. It’s a thin, fragile element of one of the most important sensory input mechanisms your brain uses to navigate the world. Be careful, my friends. This could get ugly.

This all begs the question, then, of what we can do to address our ever-increasing digital eyestrain?

There can be a lot of misinformation out there on the internet so you have to be careful about not just what you read with those valuable eyes of yours, but also where you read it from. Credibility is key.

That’s why we took a gander over at The Vision Council’s thoughts on the matter of digital eyestrain. To give you a bit of context, they’ve been around since the 1940s and, along with the Better Vision Institute, are a membership organization aimed at meeting the evolving needs of the vision industry at large.

he most abundant light emitted by most all digital displays is blue. Blue light is the short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than longer wavelength hues, such as orange and red. Blue light is what gives screens their brightness, and in order for a screen to be visible, it needs a lot of it:

To combat blue light, Apple recently released a software update across all their devices to address this after a product called Flux was gaining popularity in the marketplace. Apple calls it Night Shift and it’s a setting that dims and shifts your display to a warmer orange light at night. Reducing the color temperature of your display lowers the amount of blue light emitted by a color display for better long-term viewing comfort.

Apple provides step-by-step support documentation for Night Shift on both the iPhone and the  Alternatively, you can download Flux for your Windows machine or go to Settings > Display on your Android device where there will typically be a “Night Light” or “Night Mode” switch. a maker of specialty lenses to help with this problem, informs us that not all blue light is bad, however:

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