Protecting Your Eyes in the Digital Age

By Eye Institute of Houston
May 15, 2019

Most people born in our country in the past few decades grew up surrounded by digital technology. Our advances in this area have been substantial and, it would seem, highly beneficial to the quality of living. We don't have to reach far for anything, including entertainment. One brief look around in any public place is all it takes to see how reliant we are on our cell phones. While we couldn't suggest going back to the "good old days" before we became glued to digital devices, we can say that there are hazards to our new way of being. Here, we discuss how vision can be safeguarded in the digital age.

There are a few problems with our chronic use of cell phones, tablets, and computers. Each can lead to eye strain. Naturally, the eyes develop a field of vision by working together. Studies indicate that the muscles of the eyes inherently support vision at a distance of about 20 feet. Anything closer than that forces the muscles to move the eyes inward toward the nose. Computers and cell phones are typically positioned within 2 feet of the face, much closer than our natural anatomy is designed for.

Strategies to Avoid Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome affect nearly 90 percent of the population. Studies show that even children are experiencing the effects of consistent digital usage. To mitigate the problems of our digital lifestyle, strategies such as the following should be followed.

  • Minimize use. The best possible habit to establish around digital devices is to minimize the amount of time you spend looking at a screen. This doesn't have to be restrictive; it can include taking breaks every 20 to 30 minutes to look across the room. It can also include unplugging for a few hours or a few days.
  • Sit farther away from screens. As much as possible, computer screens and cell phones should be positioned approximately 24 inches away from the eyes.
  • Reduce glare. Glare can make it difficult to see what you're trying to observe on a screen and, as a result, make the eyes work harder. Films can be purchased to place over screens to reduce glare and settings can be changed on cell phones to ease the work that the eyes have to do to see well.

Habits can directly contribute to overall eye health. So can your knowledge about your eyes. The team at Eye Institute of Houston is happy to help you understand your eyes better. Call (713) 668-7337 to schedule your eye exam.

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