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Technology and the impact it has on our eyes

In 2019, it is hard for a day to pass without the use of an electronic device, be it a computer, mobile or tablet, our reliance on technology has never been so pronounced. Whilst these devices are seen as vital to modern living, there have been many reports of the negative impacts our dependence on these devices can have on our health. Sleep deprivation, lack of social skills and even depression have all been linked to our modern-day love affair with technology. You may also be aware that over exposure to electronic devices can have a detrimental impact on our eye health. So, whilst you are certainly not alone in staying up for hours scrolling through social media, or glued to your latest favourite box set, here is why your eyes might not be thanking you for it:

Blue light and how it affects our eyes

Blue light which is also known as high-energy visible (HEV) light is one of the causes of digital eye strain. HEV comes in two forms – artificial (from mobile phones, computer screens, led lights etc.) and natural (from the sun).

Natural blue light has some beneficial effects:

  • Boosts alertness
  • Helps to regulate the body’s natural sleeping pattern
  • Helps with memory

However, blue light also has some negative effects:

  • Digital Eyestrain Syndrome/Digital Eye Fatigue
  • May contribute to age-related macular degeneration
  • Lowers melatonin levels might associated with other types of health problems

Digital Eye Fatigue

Let’s take a deeper dive into the most common effect of artificial blue light – digital eye fatigue. It is estimated that 50-90% of people who work on computers have reported digital eye fatigue symptoms. Digital eye fatigue (also known as asthenopia) has a variety of side effects including dry eyes, difficulty focusing, headache, tiredness and light sensitivity. Eye fatigue is linked to the prolonged use of any technology permitting light such as TVs, laptop/computer screens, mobile phones and tablets, and the distance the user is from the device in question.

Myopia is on the rise

Another condition which is associated with the use of technology is Myopia, and this is caused by the proximity of the device to our eyes. Myopia is another name for short-sightedness. Myopia is an eye condition what causes objects in the distance to become blurry. In the UK alone, it is possible that it is affecting up to 1 in 3 people and this number is expected to rise.

In 2010, approximately 28.3% of the world’s population (or 2 billion people!) were suffering from myopia. It is predicted that by 2050, a huge 49.8% (or 4.8 billon people) will be suffering from the condition. According to an article referencing the Ophthalmology journal, the sudden decline in vision is related to the increased use of screens on smartphones and computer monitors.

Top tips to prevention eye damage

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to protect your eyes from harm…

If you follow these tips you will feel the benefits! You will be more productive, less irritable and more relaxed. Always remember, if you have concerns regrading your eye health, please visit your GP or optometrist for further guidance.

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