If you spend a lot of time with your eyes glued to computer screens, cell phones, tablets, or even the TV, you could be causing damage to your eyes. Spending long periods of time looking at digital screens can lead to eye strain, blurriness, headaches, and dry eyes, which are all symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).
There has been a lot of discussion about this recently, and for the most part, these symptoms are not dangerous to your eyesight and usually dissipate after you’ve given your eyes a rest for a few hours. However, there is evidence that suggests that the light that emanates from your computer or other digital devices could cause permanent damage to your eyes, possibly as serious as causing irreversible retina damage.
Eye Muscle Strain
You put your eye muscles through a hard workout on a daily basis, but even more so when you have to sit in front of a computer all day and this can cause some problems. Looking through glare on the screen is one way in which you cause your eye muscles to work extra hard and they get fatigued.
Another way your eye muscles can get overworked is the way your computer monitor is situated. Because your eyes are naturally positioned to look straight ahead and down slightly, if your computer monitor is situated too high or off to the side, then your eyes have to look in that direction for long periods of time. This causes the eye muscles to have to work really hard to hold that unnatural position, which causes them to get strained and begin to hurt.
Sitting too close to the monitor or holding your cell phone or tablet too close to your face can cause your eye muscles to become overworked as well. “Too close” means at the distance in which you would hold a book or closer. Your eyes have to work harder to clearly see things that are near to them than they do to see things that are in the distance. So, continually sitting with your face too close to the monitor can lead to eye muscle fatigue and strain.
Not to mention the fact that as you sit staring at your computer or other electronic device for long periods of time, you tend to blink less often. When you don’t blink, your eyes dry up and become irritated.
Between the lighting, the position of the monitor, and the distance at which you keep your face from the monitor, you can really cause some damage to the muscles in your eyes, weakening them and causing them to become overly tired and strained.
Retina damage can possibly occur from spending too much time looking at digital screens. It’s not just the screens themselves that cause the problem, it’s the ‘blue light’ they emit that can be damaging to your eyes. This blue light stimulates the blue light cells within the retina and can cause some damage if your eyes are locked onto it for an extended period of time.
However, most of the blue light you look at is filtered as it passes through your eye lens and your cornea, so the immediate threat of danger is lessened by this. Although, if your eyes are already weakened or for some reason they are not able to filter the blue light, retinal damage could occur. While the blue light can cause damage to your retina, it would likely take a long time for the damage to occur and turn into a major issue.
Protecting Your Eyes
If you’re going to spend a lot of time using the computer, you might benefit from a visit to your eye doctor to be fitted for a pair of computer glasses. These glasses have special lenses that keep your eyes from becoming strained when using computers or other digital devices for long periods of time.
You should also consider dimming the light on your computer monitor and moving it further back away from your face – far enough that it doesn’t strain your eyes, but not so far that you can’t comfortably see the images on the screen or read the text without straining. Making the font bigger so it’s easier to read will also cut down on the muscle strain in your eyes.
Turning down the lights in the room you’re in and pulling the blinds or curtains on the windows will help to prevent glares and cut down on eye strain as well. You don’t want to sit in a completely dark room, but a more evenly lit room will be easier on the eyes.
Making sure you take frequent breaks, blink frequently, and use artificial tears to keep your eyes moist, will also aid in keeping your eyes safe. The most important thing is the breaks. Walk away from the computer every now and then; stop to look at something else and just give your eyes the rest they so desperately need.