If you suffer from red, watery and itchy eyes, frequent headaches, and visual fatigue, you’re not alone, and it may be that all your screens are to blame! With constant exposure to digital devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, e-readers and more, many people are experiencing symptoms of eye fatigue.
The impact of this exposure is compounded by the fact that multiple devices are often used simultaneously, which can be excessively taxing on the eyes. It’s not uncommon for someone to be working on his laptop while watching television, and at the same time also checking his smartphone intermittently for social media updates. In fact, 70% of adults experience digital eye strain due to prolonged use of electronics.
A report from ZenithOptimedia estimates that people spend eight hours a day consuming media, while a recent comScore study reported that the time individuals spend on smartphones consuming digital media increased by 90% from 2013 to 2015. These numbers aren’t necessarily a threat to humanity; after all, we actually derive pleasure from consuming content this way. The hitch here is the side effect!
While digital devices are here to stay, Shivkumar J., CEO of Essilor India, takes note of the trend and suggests some useful ways to protect yourself from the impact of digital overload, including a few essential tips for combating visual fatigue:
• Take frequent breaks from your computer- With our work today being completely dependent on computers, most of us spend hours staring at screens at office as well as home. While it may not be possible to substantially reduce this usage, frequent breaks can provide some rest to the eyes. Schedule meetings and brainstorming sessions in the middle of the day, and stay away from the screen while eating lunch. It is also important to stand up from your desk every hour, and look away from the computer for several minutes.
• Minimise glare- Excessive glare on your monitor exacerbates eye strain. Try to reduce reflections in your surroundings by using window blinds, avoiding bright light sources in your room, and installing glare filters on your monitor. Minimising the glare on the screen will help reduce the strain on the eyes.
• Reduce social media addiction- While much of our digital exposure comes from essential work, a major part of it is also due to our constant checking of social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp, among others. It’s no wonder we find so many people glued to their smartphones, even after a long day of work. Restrict your addiction, and you can reduce lots of unnecessary eye exposure every day.
• Use protective eyewear- Try using customised spectacle lenses, which can offer prevention and protection for your eyes against digital overload, harmful blue light, strain and fatigue. Lenses like EyeZen and Crizal Prevencia are specially designed to meet the changing needs of the day, and help protect people from harmful blue light and UV rays.
• Never bring your smartphone to bed- This is one habit that not only increases digital strain on the eye, but also wrecks your sleep. Make sure you keep your phone away at least half an hour before going to bed. Break the habit of lurking on social media channels right before falling asleep.
Your eyes are an important part of your health, and a great concern to most people. In fact, 46% of people are more afraid of losing their vision as they age, compared to their memory, mobility or hearing. While research continues to find a link between good nutrition and overall eye health, we’re still not doing enough to protect them, especially given the visual and digital overload that’s so common nowadays. It’s high time correct some of these bad habits… it’ll be a real eye-opener!