Our modern lives have been overrun with screens, and ‘screen time’ is as much something to think about as getting enough exercise. Computers have made our life unbelievably easy and efficient, streamlining our everyday lives, but what effect has all these screens had on our eyes?
Digital Eye Strain (DES) is one of those effects. Haven’t heard of it? You will. Also called Computer Vision Syndrome, this is the result of a handful of culprits: blue light, glare, staring closely at an object for a long time, and a reduced blink rate.
Computer and device screens emit high-energy blue light which makes them more energy efficient but puts a strain on eyes and disrupts our sleep cycles as well. Next, glare is simply excess and unnecessary feedback coming into our eyes. This also causes eyestrain and headaches.
Staring at objects closely for a long time is not what our eyes were meant to do. It causes eye muscles to spasm which leads to headaches, blurred vision, and eye fatigue. Also, when we stare at our devices and screens for long periods, we forget to blink often. Blinking hydrates the eyes without which we have dry, itchy uncomfortable eyes.
WHAT ARE DIGITAL EYE STRAIN SYMPTOMS?
American Optometric Association has estimated that 50-90% of computer users will have symptoms of DES, and as a nation, we spend around 7.5 hours in front of our computer and device screens every day.
The symptoms of DES are immediately recognizable. Tired, dry or uncomfortable eyes, itchy or irritated eyes, blurred or double vision, and headaches are all significant signs.
Not everyone has every symptom every time. Many have just one or two. Some are more prone to certain symptoms than others or feel some symptoms more acutely than others.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
There are a few tips and tricks to combating DES such as eye drops for itchy eyes or taking time every 20 minutes to look away from our screens to stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. The best defense is a good offense, however, and that starts with computer glasses.
Computer glasses have special lenses that filter or absorb high-energy blue light. These do this in a variety of ways, though some work better than others.
Some glasses have heavy yellow tinting to filter blue light, though these can have the disadvantage of turning everything you see yellow. Others have a coating that absorbs blue light, but in general are less effective.
Felix Gray is one company that makes stylish and highly effective glasses that uses specially designed lenses to absorb blue light but remain clear in the process. They offer slight magnification to reduce strain but have non-magnified options as well. Lastly, they add a top coat to eliminate glare. All of this in sophisticated and stylish unisex frames.
It is time to give our eyes the protection and relief they need. After all they do for us, day after day, screen after screen, they deserve it.