Recently we’ve seen growth in research into the effects of high energy visible light (HEV) and blue light on our eyes. Vision experts agree that the sun emits blue light just like every electronic device with a screen. Some still debate whether or not exposure from any specific source deserves blame for causing digital eye strain. Stuff.co.nz recently asked the question, “Are screens ruining our eyes?” They report that most humans spend between 7.4 and 9 hours in front of an electronic device a day. Every single device emits artificial blue light. Even more concerning, according to Stuff, the 63% of adults experience computer vision syndrome!
Stuff’s article further examines the issue, noting the feedback effect of digital screens. Not only do they damage our eyes with their light, but we tend to add to the damage ourselves. Staring for a long period at a screen means, for most people, we hold our eyes wider, and blink less. To spell this out: the screens cause damage to any eyes watching them, eyes that watch them generally stay wide, and don’t blink, leading to more exposure from the screens.
How to Cope
With such a vicious cycle of straining blue light exposure, you can’t help but ask, “what can I do?” Stuff offers five familiar solutions:
- Computers at Arms Length: Keeping the computer one arms length away lowers the amount of blue light entering your eyes. If needed, increase the font size on the screen. Whatever you do, don’t pull it too close!
- Phones at Arms Length: a less common bit of advice that the first point, keep your phone further away. Often we use our phones to watch videos or read. Frequently this means we have our phones quite close to our eyes. Whenever possible, avoid this.
- 20-20-20 Rule: When using a screen, every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Get Your Eyes Checked: if your digital eye strain symptoms are particularly bad, see a doctor. They may have other helpful advice tailored to you personally.
- Blue Light Blocking Glasses: Glasses that block blue light go a long way to protecting your eyes (trust us on this one!).
Give Your Eyes a Break
While medical experts continue to investigate digital eye strain don’t forget the basics. Your eyes are a muscle and extremely intricate in design. Whether working with heavy equipment, swimming, going for a hike, or on your computer you need to keep those eyes protected. Blue light doesn’t only cause simple strain. Blue light emitted by any source will affect your circadian rhythm. Protecting the precious commodity of sleep always ought to figure high on your list of priorities. Furthermore, blue light damages your retina. Not even the most elite athlete exposes any of their muscles to the kind of torture we put our eyes through. Give your eyes a break. Follow the rules Stuff suggested. If you need help with number five, you know we’ve got you covered. Whatever the science says in the future, for now, we know enough. Take action!