We can take various measures to care better for our eye health by managing digital eye strain
Every aspect of modern life, including work, shopping, entertainment, education and communication, depends on digital devices. Therefore, with the prevalence of digital screens, constant screen staring has led to the growing issue of digital eye strain (DES).
The most common DES symptoms include dry eyes, blurry vision, tearing or watery eyes, and headache. If not addressed sooner, it could lead to visual impairment, negatively affecting one’s quality of life. As a result, it is advised to keep daily screen time to under two hours.
Vision Works Optometry owner Ryan Tan Yeang Zhang said: “We can try to reduce screen time by avoiding these digital devices. But it is almost impossible in this digital age because it is part of our daily life.
“So, we need to take different measures to better care for our eye health and reduce the impact of DES on our vision,” said Tan, an optometrist.
Tips to reduce DES
According to him, there are several ways to reduce the chances of developing DES and manage its progression. These include:
• Blinking often
Blinking helps to keep the eyes lubricated and moisturised, reducing the risk of dry eyes. The average spontaneous blinking rate is 18 blinks per minute. The blinking rate drops to about four per minute when looking at digital screens.
Try to be aware of how frequently you blink and develop the habit of blinking more regularly when using any digital device to lower your risk of eye strain from dry eyes.
• Using protective eyewear
Wear protective eyewear, such as computer glasses or silicone hydrogel contact lenses. The blue light filter in computer glasses protects the eyes from harmful blue light and lessens eye strain.
Silicone hydrogel contact lenses have high oxygen transmissibility, improved wetting qualities, low water content and a low dehydration tendency. It helps reduce irritation and dry eye problem.
• Set up a comfortable visual ergonomic
The distance between the eyes and the computer screen is the most crucial ergonomic factor for eye strain. The focusing muscles are overworked, and the eyes are tired when working at close range.
Therefore, users of computers and other digital devices should keep the screen 18 to 30 inches away from their eyes.
Users should also ensure the screen is either at eye level or just below it. If the screen is above eye level, the eyes will open wider to view the screen. This results in a larger eye surface area exposed to evaporation of tears between eye blinks, causing dry eyes.
Finally, users must ensure screen brightness and glare are lowered. Most recent technologies now offer screen settings for blue light filtering, brightness, contrast, and resolution for better visual comfort.
• Take screen breaks
Practice the 20-20-20 rule; for every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Breaks from the screen allow the eyes to relax so they can continue to work more effectively for extended periods.
Committed to improving the profession
Tan graduated in 2017 from the National Institute of Ophthalmic Science (NIOS), an educational institute affiliated with the Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital (THONEH). He is a passionate optometrist who wants to revolutionise the field and thinks the future is promising.
“We are heading towards a better direction. More and more optometrists are keen on improving the optometry service beyond just prescribing and selling eyewear.
“They are passionate about eye health awareness and eager to improve the optometry service with clinical setup for comprehensive eye health examinations. Industry players are committed to enhancing the optometry service and profession.”
He said Johnson & Johnson Vision Care is committed to research and development to introduce new contact lens innovations under their ACUVUE contact lens line of products, such as the ACUVUE Oasys with HydraLuxe Technology for digital device users.
“Apart from product development, they also organise workshops and seminars on awareness, latest technology, knowledge sharing and best practices.
“And during the pandemic, they were also helpful with solutions and recommendations to service customers effectively and safely.”
In conjunction with the October World Sight Day 2022 celebration, Tan said Vision Works Optometry would offer free comprehensive eye exams for the entire month. – The Health