If you’ve read the RYV blog before, you’ve no doubt come across at least one article about digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. That’s because modern technology is destroying our eyes. That sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Digital devices like our smartphones, tablets, desktop and laptop computers are all guilty of harming our eyes.
Damage to the eyes can be done by the blue light that these screens emit; it can be caused by the font being too small; it can be caused by the brightness of the screen too bright; and it can simply be caused by overuse.
These handheld devices hold the world in them. We have access to games, encyclopedias, news, photos, videos, and the list goes on and on. Technology can produce some amazing things, but it can also damage our most precious sense if we don’t proceed with caution.
Nothing is more proof of this than new terms being invented to describe eye health in relation to modern technology and our overuse of screens.
In this article, we’d like to focus on these new terms. Transient smartphone blindness? It may seem self-explanatory, but there is so much more to it than you think. Read on for a better understanding about how modern technology is affecting our nation’s eye health.
Transient Smartphone Blindness
You can probably guess from the name of this condition that it’s a term for a type of blindness. Transient smartphone blindness is a temporary blindness caused by the use of your smartphone in the dark.
That’s right. Every time you use your smartphone or tablet in the dark, you put yourself at risk of developing transient smartphone blindness.
Transient smartphone blindness is an extremely new condition that’s affecting smartphone users. Two women recently made headlines when they claimed to suffer from temporary blindness throughout the day for up to 15 minutes each time.
Once they underwent tests, doctors came to the conclusion that it was their smartphones causing the temporary vision loss. They narrowed down the cause of this new phenomenon to the smartphone use in bed. Both women admitted to using their phones before bed, while using one eye while the other eye was covered by the pillow.
While one eye became adjusted to the light, the other was adjusted to the dark. This is what was causing their temporary blindness. For the most part, temporary blindness is nothing but an inconvenience that is easily avoidable. However, sometimes temporary and sudden vision loss can be a sign of a stroke so don’t dismiss it if it happens to you.
An easy way to avoid transient smartphone blindness is to not use your phone in the dark. It’s really as easy as that, but if you find that you absolutely need to use it in the dark, be sure to use both eyes. That way both eyes can adjust to the light.
Digital Eye Strain and Computer Vision Syndrome
Digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome (CVS, for short) are often terms used interchangeably to refer to symptoms and eye conditions caused by digital devices.
CVS may be an outdated term because computers are not the only screens we use on a daily basis. Digital eye strain is a more encompassing term of all digital devices with screens.
CVS is often a condition that affects office workers who spend eight hours a day, five days a week sitting in front of a computer typing away. Symptoms of CVS are neck and back pain, eye strain, headaches, dry eyes and blurred vision.
CVS can be avoided by adjusting the computer monitor to a comfortable position. The American Optometric Association suggests placing your screen 20 to 28 inches away from the eyes and to tilt it upwards at a 20 degree angle.
Digital eye strain, on the other hand, refers to any type of eye strain that occurs due to over use of digital devices. Other symptoms can include; blurred vision, temporary vision loss, dry eyes, eye strain and headaches.
A simple treatment to digital eye strain is to cool it on your device use! There’s no need to be staring at your smartphone or tablet for hours on end. But if you have to stare at a screen for a long time, try the 10-10-10 Rule. Take a 10 second break every 10 minutes and look at something still that is 10 feet away. This will help your eyes relax and defocus.
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Blue Light Exposure
Blue light is a type of light that is emitted by every one of our digital devices. It’s an artificial light that gives us that intense brightness from our screens; so bright that we can use them as flashlights.
Blue light is just a light so not many of us think twice about how it affects our eyes. In fact, I’ll admit that I hadn’t given it a thought until I started doing research on why my eyes seemed to be so sensitive to bright screens. Sure enough, it was the blue light that my eyes were reacting to.
Prolonged exposure to blue light can cause a sensitivity to light, as well as digital eye strain, which we talked about before. However, blue light can be extremely harmful to the retina, which can then lead to diseases like macular degeneration.
A way to block out this blue light is to install filters on your digital devices that block out the blue light without sacrificing brightness. A number of these filters can be found through a quick google search (and most of them are free!). Filters for handheld devices and computers/laptops are available.
Technology can be wonderful. I mean, you wouldn’t be enjoying our blog if it weren’t for technology. We don’t mean to discourage technology use, but rather encourage safe technology use.
Don’t let your eyes suffer when they don’t have to. Knowing the risks modern technology poses to eye health is the first step. Now apply your new knowledge and practice safe digital device use!