The Eyes Have It: Back Away From the Computer and the Handheld Devices!

On any given day most people spend at least seven hours working on a computer or staring at some handheld device. Sounds familiar? If so, you could be straining your eyes, which might eventually lead to dry-eye disease and/or digital eye strain.

Dry-eye disease happens when a person fails to produce enough tears due to less blinking. The chances of this happening are much higher when staring at a computer because many people aren’t aware that for concentration’s sake they blink less, leading to swollen, red and irritated eyes.

Symptoms of digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, include the following:

  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Last year a study conducted by the American Optometric Association (AOA) reported that 58 percent of adults have experienced digital eye strain or vision problems as a result of spending at least seven hours a day on the computer. The Vision Council found that 87 percent of Americans use a digital device more than two hours per day, while 52.2 percent reported using at least two digital devices simultaneously.

Adults aren’t the only ones at risk here. Children who spent more time using smartphones had more symptoms of dry-eye disease, according to a recent study in BMC Ophthalmology.  A previous AOA survey found that four-fifths of children reported having itchy, burning or tired eyes after using electronic devices for lengthy amounts of time.

Prevention Tips
The Vision Council recommends the following:

  • Adhere to 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes take a 20-second break and view something 20 feet away)
  • Keep Distance (AOA suggests sitting between 20 and 28 inches from the eye to the front surface of the screen)
  • Find Different Angle (computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees, or about 4 to 5 inches, below eye level as measured from the center of the screen)
  • Decrease Glare (consider using a glare filter to minimize the amount of light reflected from the screen)
  • Blink, Blink, Blink (make an effort to blink often so you won’t develop dry eyes)

Bonus: Things To Eat

Diet is also important when it comes to eye-care wellness. Boost eye function with a diet rich in carotenoids, which consists of foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, pumpkins, broccoli, cantaloupe and goji berries.

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