We’re spending more time in front of screens than ever before. Over one third of U.S. adults spend 4-6 hours a day with digital media, and 14% spend 10-12 hours a day. It’s not always by choice; 34% of professions require continued use of computers and other digital devices. While technology has changed the world for the better in countless ways, too much exposure can take it’s toll on your body. and your eyes may be getting the worst of it.
Looking at a screen for too long can lead to eye strain— a major component of computer vision syndrome (CVS). One or more of these syndromes could indicate eye strain: burning, stinging eyes, dry or watery eyes, blurred or double vision, increased sensitivity, difficulty changing focus, red eyes, headaches and fatigue. If this sounds all too familiar, you’re not alone. 64%-90% of office workers are affected by CVS. Here’s what you need to know to keep your eyes protected.
How does technology harm your eyes?
When you use a computer, you blink significantly less than usual. This can lead to dry, unhealthy eyes. Another big problem is pixelation. When pixels are spaced too far apart, they create fuzzy distorted graphics.This can be especially bad in old software, incorrect resolution settings, and low resolution images. Although a television screen has a lot less pixels per inch, you’re sitting a lot farther away and don’t suffer the same effects.
What can you do?
There are some steps you can take to keep your eyes safe and reduce the effects of eye strain. To reduce squinting, enlarge your font, clean your screen and dim competing light. The vision council also recommends the use of computer eyewear; for a reasonable price you can get glasses specially designed to prevent CVS. Be sure you’re not sitting too close to your screen, but not so far away that you have to squint.Take 20-20-20 breaks— Every twenty minutes that you’re working at a computer, look away for 20 seconds at an object that’s 20 feet away. Switching to a high resolution, or retina display can help too.
Retina display is quite literally more than meets the eye
Retina display is featured in the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, and the most current generation of iPad, MacBook Pro, and iPod touch. There’s been a lot of buzz over the display’s dynamic, sharp images, but what is it? Retina Display is a term coined by Apple to refer to their devices that have a pixel density so high that the naked eye can’t see individual pixels. Samsung has recently released their own laptop display with an even higher resolution. These options offer a solution to pixelation, making them much better for your eyes. Optometrists recommend these extremely high resolution displays as a better alternative, but still offer a word of advice: Blink! Regardless of the impressive resolution, the decrease in blinking is still a problem.
Thanks to technological advances, the effects of eye strain are being reduced, and will hopefully continue to do so as technology evolves.
- License: Creative Commons image source
- License: Image author owned
Hannah Woolley is a technology writer for ZAGG