Adapting eyesight to the digital age: combating eyestrain

The invasion of digital devices in our daily lives (computers, mobiles, tablets) has meant a drastic change in our way of planning and organizing both our ‘modus vivendi’ and our ‘modus operandi’, in such a way that we have created the need to be permanently communicated, both in what affects our human relationships and in world news that within minutes of being produced we have them available. Likewise, Internet shopping, digital banking, video games, etc. have been a constant advance but, like an addiction, they keep us many hours a day in front of these devices with physical (ocular or spinal column) and psychic (decrease in human relationships, introversion, etc.) repercussions.

How harmful devices are to vision: false rumors

It has long been insisted that electronic devices were harmful to the eyes. Reference has been made to the fact that vision could be affected by their use, but this statement is not accurate, since at present the screens of such devices do not emit any harmful radiation, nor is the brightness of the screens harmful.

Visual fatigue due to screen abuse

Prolonged work and the abuse of screens cause visual fatigue that manifests itself mainly in the form of reddening of the eyes and the sensation of grit. The main cause is dry eyes, even in young people, and is the consequence of the scarce blinking we do in front of a screen. This shortage of tears is particularly noticeable in people over 50 years of age, when tears become scarce and may be of poor quality. Another group of causes of visual fatigue in front of a screen are those people who have alterations in ocular motility, such as difficulty in keeping both eyes working together (convergence insufficiency) and heterophoria, which is a latent type of strabismus.

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How to prevent visual fatigue as a result of screens

To minimize these disorders it is important to adopt a series of hygienic measures that will allow us to work better and more comfortably. The most important are to blink frequently, place the screen below the midline and try to take breaks of a quarter of an hour every two or three hours of work (it would be interesting if both computers and tablets had an application that would automatically notify a break warning every two hours). If this is not enough, the use of artificial tears during the period of work with a screen is recommended.

Positive aspects of the digital age

However, we have to thank these devices for the possibility for users to increase the character size. Thanks to this there are many people with severe vision problems (low vision) who have benefited from this type of technology.