Digital Eye Syndrome
Digital eye syndrome is discomfort which occurs after two or more hours of computer or digital device use. Many electronic devices can cause digital eye syndrome. These include desktop and laptop computers, televisions, smart phones, gaming systems, tablets and e-readers. Symptoms of digital eye syndrome include red tired eyes, dryness, irritation, blurred vision, trouble refocusing, headaches, back, neck and shoulder pain.
Today, due to LED and florescent light sources, we are exposed to a significant amount of blue light. Computers and other electronic devices emit a high concentration of blue light. Blue light is visible light which radiates at a short wave length very close to ultraviolet (a well known hazard to eye health). Recent studies reveal that blue light can contribute to cataract development, cause retinal cell death and accelerate macular degeneration. Blue light also scatters easily within the eye, reducing contrast and contributing to a feeling of tiredness and fatigue. Blue light focuses in front of the retina, which also adds to decreased sharpness of vision.
The benefit of blue light is that it makes us feel more alert and awake. Its presence suppresses melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone which causes our bodies to feel drowsy and ready for sleep. By inhibiting melatonin production, our sleep patterns can be disrupted. Therefore, it is advised that the use of any electronic device should be avoided within one hour of bedtime, so as not to interfere with the bodies desire and need for sleep.
Other factors, which contribute to digital eye syndrome, are the way in which we hold and view our electronic devices. For those wearing prescription eyewear, all purpose corrective lenses, such as bifocals and progressive lenses, are intended for comprehensive general use. Luckily, task specific occupational lenses are designed especially for wide intermediate (computer distance) and near viewing. These large viewing areas are of great advantage when using a computer for many hours. Optical coatings which block blue light and reflections are also beneficial and recommended in these task specific occupational designs.
Questions one might ask are:
- Do your eyes feel tired after working many hours on a computer?
- Are your eyes red, burning and are you having problems refocusing?
- Do you suffer from headaches, watery eyes, and blurred vision after extended computer use?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, we have the solution. Visit our store location to learn more about the occupational lenses we offer, such as our “defined use” computer lenses and computer coatings.
Sources: American Vision Council; Cheryl G. Murphy, Optometrist, Vision One Magazine; Nikon Labratories