World has developed by leaps and bounds, and digitally we have scaled many new heights. As we encourage new digitization and more technological advancements, a question that keeps propping up is, how much digital is enough? Prolonged hours in front of a digital screen have led to a new eye disorder, aptly being called “Digital eye strain”. This is defined as the physical eye discomfort felt after two or more hours in front of a digital screen. As time in front of digital screens increase, so do symptoms like blurred vision, burning eyes, headaches and disrupted sleep. It is reported that nearly two thirds of American adults now experience symptoms of digital eye strain.
This is not surprising, as a mobile digital screen is most probably the first thing that a lot of us see when we get up in the morning. Our busy professional and personal lifestyles have ensured that we spend a great deal of our time in front of different digital screens, starting from mobiles to laptops, LED TVs to Tablets and so on. Documents and emails, Facebook updates and movies, presentations and e-commerce, all take up a big chunk of our eye capabilities and increase strain. As per reports, an average adult spends close to 10 hours per day using electronic media and so TV is no longer the main culprit. We are so engrossed digitally that physical interactions have reduced and we are more dependent on technology to interact with each other.
The biggest source of potential concern is the kind of light most digital devices emit. We are all aware about the invisible dangers of UV light, but very few people are aware of the potential risks of high energy light that we can see: blue light emitted by digital screens. Digital screens and fluorescent and LED office lighting have drastically increased our exposure. It’s not all bad – blue light’s abundance in daylight boosts alertness. But when we’re bathing ourselves in HEV light constantly, the sustained exposure may well add up, preventing our bodies from settling into healthy sleep. Our eyes are not designed to take up so much of HEV light and this leads to numerous consequences.
Of course, all is not lost. Simple lifestyle adjustments can make a lot of difference. The easiest fix is to just take a break. For those who are glued on to their screens while at work, take regular breaks and also blink more often as blinking helps lubricate the eyes as well as reduces strain. Specialized eyewear, Anti-reflective lenses, as well as glasses which have a special coating that selectively absorbs part of the blue light, are all part of remedies. Ayurvedic Hospitals in Kerala, have regular screenings to ensure that eye sight is maintained in pristine condition and can be treated immediately in case any strain is detected. Technology may be evolving rapidly, but we still only get one set of eyes. So, do take care of them well.