Tips to avoid the harmful effects of computer and smartphone screens on your eyes | Health

Computer screens have always been the proverbial double-edged swords where on the one hand they help us in all kinds of activities, from business to entertainment, from health consultations to online courses, stocks and finances to online shopping, while on the other hand, they have a major role in creating health problems, especially for the eyes. Everything was fine until the computers were in a room and we could only access them when we were finishing our day and spending time, but today the computer screens are in front of our eyes almost all the time. of our waking time in the form of mobiles, tabs, laptops, desktop screens and even watches and the effect it creates has not only become stronger but also longer and all at the expense of users’ eyes.

Our digital devices are literally a feast for the eyes. If you’re one of those people who stares at your digital devices for more than 7 hours a day, chances are your eyes are paying the price for your screen addiction, because staring at your digital screens for too long can lead to fatigue. fatigue, itching, dry eyes and even blurred vision and headaches.

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) ranges from mild to severe and involves eye redness, dryness, gritty feeling, fatigue as well as headache, drowsiness, eye pain, shoulder pain and back and blurred vision both near and far. This leads to decreased productivity and non-resolving symptoms in the affected person.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Anuradha Ghorpade, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Connect and Heal, revealed, “In children, especially those who spend a lot of time on the cellphone playing games, as well as the effect that it has on memory and logical thinking, Screen time increases the chances of inducing high refractive errors (high power glasses) which, in the long term, have their own problems and complications. Also due to the constant rubbing of the eyes due to fatigue, there is a high chance of eye infections including styes and conjunctivitis which can also spread to others due to physical contact with the affected hands .

She pointed out: “In some people, especially older people with less space in the eyes (narrow angles), constant close work can precipitate an attack of acute glaucoma which manifests as intense pain, redness and blurred vision. This is an emergency and may require admission and laser treatment. Some people also suffer from dark circles and wrinkles around their eyes, not only from lack of sleep, but probably also from the blue light from computer screens. Blue light is also known to affect sleep patterns and cause long-term retinal issues. This can include age-related retinal changes and central vision problems.

According to Dr. Anuradha Ghorpade, of all these problems, dry eye and glasses addiction are the two most common problems. She said: “Drought can cause a constant grainy feeling, blurring from dry patches and intermittent watering. Contact lenses further increase dryness and are not recommended for computer users. The power of the glasses keeps changing in younger users while in older users it shows fluctuations that cause intermittent blurring. Therefore, it is recommended to reduce screen time to the minimum possible and as much as necessary.

She suggested, “Also, get your eyes checked by an eye doctor if in doubt. Diagnosis of dry eyes and related disorders can only be made in a clinic with various tests and equipment available there like OSDI questionnaire, Schirmer test, tear break time and fluorescein staining. Once diagnosed, treatment can be initiated in the form of eye drops, eye gels and tablets. Along with this, she recommended the following precautions to be followed:

– Use glasses or anti-reflective screens

– Keep the computer at a lower angle of 45 degrees

– Blink frequently

– Use moisturizing eye drops for the eyes during and after screen time

– Eat plenty of fresh green and red/orange fruits and vegetables

– Follow the 20-20-20 rule which means every 20 minutes look 20 meters away for 20 seconds to give your eye muscles and eye surface a break

– Do not sit in front of the AC directly

– Sleep 7 to 8 hours and drink 2 to 3 liters of water a day

– Get out in the sun frequently, especially for children, as it has been shown to reduce the risk of glass progression

– Limit the use of mobile phones in children to the minimum possible for the overall development of the child, and engage the child in alternative activities instead of scolding him.

Dr. Rashmi Shukla, Consultant Ophthalmologist (Cataract, Cornea and Anterior Segment Specialist) at Mahim’s PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC, advised: “For people who spend a lot of time on a computer, it is recommended to use a larger screen. The screen should be placed at least 65 cm and slightly below eye level. Use anti-glare mode on laptop/mobile screens. Position the screen so that light from a natural or artificial source does not fall directly on the screen or your eye. The screen light should not be too bright or too dull. Have your glasses made with an anti-reflective/anti-glare coating. Blink frequently when working on the screen and take frequent breaks from the screen to focus on distant objects. Use a cool mist humidifier to change the quality of dry air and stay well hydrated.

Saying that, fortunately, you can minimize unavoidable digital eye strain, Dr. Rashi Taori Sawal, Senior Consultant at Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals, listed some simple and healthy habits to incorporate into your digital device viewing routine:

1. Keep your eyes moist by blinking about 12-15 times per minute and you should be good to go. It often keeps your eyes moist and reduces dryness and irritation. Blinking also helps refocus your eyes.

2. Being too close to your digital screen is also a factor in how your eyes can be negatively affected – they have to work harder to see things that are closer. If possible, keep your devices about 25 inches away or about an arm’s length away. Be sure to position the screen so that your gaze is slightly adjusted downward.

3. Be sure to adjust your screen brightness before using. When a screen is much brighter than the surrounding light, the eyes have to work harder and can be one of the reasons for eye strain.

4. You can also change the size and contrast of your text as per your convenience. Adjusting the contrast and text size of your devices provides a much-needed little relief and makes web content, emails, and more easier to read.

5. Keep your digital screen clean. Regularly wipe your device’s screen with a clean, dry cloth to remove annoying dust, grime, smudges, and fingerprints.

6. Limit devices before bed. A study shows that blue light from your phone and other screens can affect the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. During the day, blue light wakes us up and energizes us, while at night it does the same, making it harder to fall asleep. If necessary, use nighttime settings on devices and computers that minimize exposure to blue light.

In the meantime, if you constantly experience dry, red eyes or eye pain, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. By following the above precautions, one can take good care of their eyes, however, if one faces any eye problems, the best thing to do is to consult an eye doctor and not self-medicate so to avoid ill-treatment and further aggravation”.

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