How Do Digital Devices Impact Your Eyes?
The blue light emitted by smartphones, computers, and tablets can harm your eyes, but there are steps you can take to protect your vision.
Digital devices keep us connected 24/7, but can staring at screens all day harm our eyes? Issues ranging from tired eyes to macular degeneration have been linked to computers, smartphones, and tablets. Specifically, these devices emit blue light, which may be a source of vision impairment.
Blue light is a type of visible light that comes from sunlight as well as digital devices. Compared to the sun’s rays, the blue light we soak in from digital devices is very low. Yet, because we view screens up close for hours, the energy they emit may lead to long-term damage.
Blue Light and Our Eyesight
Exposure to blue light maintains our circadian rhythm — our wake/sleep cycle — during the day, but looking at screens at night may result in sleeplessness. Since blue light travels through the cornea and lens to the retina, too much exposure may cause retinal damage that could ultimately lead to macular degeneration, a progressive eye disorder that robs older people of their vision.
A study done last year at the University of Toledo suggested a link between blue light and macular degeneration. Photoreceptor cells in the eye process images that are sent to the brain with the help of retinal. When blue light was beamed onto the retinal molecules during this study, it set off a chain reaction that was toxic to the photoreceptor cells. As photoreceptor cells die off, macular degeneration of the retina occurs because these cells are not able to reproduce.
How to Protect Your Eyes
The first sign you’re spending too much time on your digital devices is eye strain. Tired, dry, and irritated eyes, as well as an inability to focus clearly, all indicate eye strain. However, these same symptoms could also stem from an outdated eyeglass prescription.
If you’re experiencing eye strain or have a job that requires long hours at the computer, then you might want to take some precautions to protect your eyes from blue light. Here are five tips to try:
- Use Filters. Place a filter over your computer, tablet, or computer to cut down on the amount of blue light that reaches the retina.
- Buy Computer Glasses. By blocking blue light and increasing contrast, these yellow-tinted glasses help reduce eye strain.
- Reduce Glare. Make sure the lighting in your home or office doesn’t produce glare on the screen. You can also purchase a filter to reduce glare on your device.
- Position Your Computer Properly. Position your computer screen between 20 to 26 inches from your eyes, with the screen just below eye level. Make sure you can adjust the screen, and sit in an adjustable chair.
- Decrease Screen Time. When reading from a screen, take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest. Also, viewing your smartphone at night intensifies the blue light, so avoid using your digital devices in a darkened room.
Visit and Eye Care Specialist
If you’re experiencing problems with your eyes, consider visiting an eye care specialist. At ICON Eyecare, we diagnosis and treat a variety of vision ailments, from dry eye to retinal disorders. All it takes is one call to get on the path to clearer vision. Contact us today to set up an appointment.