World Sight Day may lead to increased screen time and sight-related illnesses
World Sight Day: This year, World Sight Day is celebrated on Thursday, October 13. This is an annual global event designed to draw attention to blindness and visual impairment. Here we discuss the impact of exposure to increased screen time on our eyes and related issues.Also read – Twitter introduces a new feature that makes it easier to read images for the visually impaired
We spend a lot of time staring at our phones, but can phone screens damage our eyesight? India is one of the top three countries with the highest number of smartphone users and a country where more than 10 million people suffer from retinal diseases. Excessive use of electronic gadgets such as smartphones, computers and laptops is one of the major reasons behind the increasing burden of eye diseases in India. Also read – Excessive screen time, blue light from gadgets linked to obesity, psychological problems, early aging: study
The most important tip for good retinal health is to get checked regularly by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, this can help prevent disease or detect conditions at an early stage to help manage the disease in time with the right treatment and prevent vision loss. Diseases such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) can lead to significant visual loss or impairment if not managed accurately and at the right time. Also Read – 7 Easy Ways to Protect Your Eyes During Summers
Dr. Ajay Dudani, CEO of Vitreoretinal Surgeon at Mumbai Retina Center, says, “From my clinical observation, 60% of people aged 60 and over suffer from some form of cataract, which is age-related and causes progressive vision loss. 40% of these patients suffer from more severe cases, with visual impairments. However, even though cataract patients reach the advanced stages of the disease, they can regain full vision through surgery.
“On the other hand, glaucoma and retinal diseases can lead to irreversible outcomes, including blindness, if the diseases are left untreated. Diabetic retinopathy, for example, needs to be managed effectively and in a timely manner. As the number of years lived with diabetes increases, this risk increases, equivalent to a 90% risk of eye disease for people who have had diabetes for 20 years. 15-20% of my patients also have glaucoma, which can lead to optic nerve damage and progress rapidly if people do not show up for follow-ups.
“However, today we are working to raise awareness and scale technological solutions to simplify the screening process. There are a number of advanced treatment options available to control the disease, alongside a regular follow-up, including eye drops, innovative medications, laser or even surgery.Knowledge of and adherence to these treatment options, for glaucoma and other eye diseases, is essential to promote optimal eye care.
Eye problems due to excessive screen time
Staring at the screen for long hours prevents us from blinking as often as we should. This exposes the film of tears protecting the surface of the eyes and causes dryness and irritation.
Asthenopia, eyestrain or eyestrain is a condition where the eyes are fatigued from intense use. It’s a common effect of staring at a computer or smartphone screen for long periods of time and may go away with rest.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
AMD affects central vision and is quite common in older people. Since high exposure to blue light from the screen damages the retina, it triggers early onset of AMD and eventually vision loss. However, by detecting AMD early on, you can seek effective treatment for the disease and avoid the preventable consequence of vision loss.
Nearsightedness or nearsightedness is a condition in which distant objects are difficult to see or appear blurry, while objects close to you are clear. By staying indoors and staring at the screen for long periods of time, your eyes only focus on objects held less than an arm’s length away, making you vulnerable to nearsightedness.
Dry eyes, difficulty focusing, and other eye problems from excessive screen time are the result of the load placed on the eye muscles.
Here are some ways to keep your eyes under control:
- Blinking and using moisturizing eye drops can prevent dry eyes
- Adjust overhead lighting to minimize screen glare and maintain at least an arm’s length from computer screens
- Increase screen content size to reduce fatigue and insist on breaks every 30-40 minutes
This year, October 13 marks World Sight Day and aims to raise awareness and encourage individuals to draw attention to the importance of eye health. Taking proper preventive measures, regular eye checks and prompt treatment can be helpful. Remember to log your screen time and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to keep your eyes and body healthy.