Eye fatigue and its impacts

The number of hours spent in front of a screen has increased dramatically in recent years. If we are not in front of the computer or the TV, our eyes are fixed on our electronic tablet and our cell phone. It's easy to forget how unnatural it is for our eyes to work, read and play on a digital screen for hours on end. Depending on our visual health, our eyes may need to work more to get a clear picture of the screen. Even people with perfect vision can experience symptoms if they have to work at the computer for a long period of time. Eye fatigue can have a direct influence on the quality of the work: reading slower, information less understood, reduced concentration, etc. 

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We blink an average of 12 times per minute, but only 5 times per minute in front of a screen.

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Adults spend an average of 6 hours a day in front of a screen.

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Children have transparent crystalline that are more sensitive to blue light than adults.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of eye strain are dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. Other signs may be observed: difficulty focusing and concentrating, sensitivity to light, stiffness in the neck and shoulders, and back pain.

Although symptoms of eye strain have common effects on vision, you should visit your optometrist for a visual examination to determine if your eye discomfort or headache is due to a more serious vision or health problem. 

Risks not to neglect

 

  • Several recent studies have associated myopia with too long visual concentration on near objects. When we look at something closely, our eyes have to work harder.
  • Dry eyes and tingling sensation can lead to an urge to rub the eyes which can lead to gradual deformation of the cornea.
  • Blue light present in most light sources can be harmful to the eyes because some of its wavelengths are responsible for aging of the retina. Screens are not dangerous as such, but overuse can lead to serious eye problems.

What is bleu light?

Natural blue light is all around us. It is the one who makes the sky blue. Natural blue light regulates our sleep and wake cycles. It also makes us more alert, and improves our mood and sense of well-being.

Artificial blue light, emitted by devices, LED lights and energy-efficient bulbs, can be harmful to your eyes. The screens emit large amounts of very strong, unbalanced blue light waves.

Blue-violet light (which shoots towards Ultra-Violets or UV) is just after UV in the light spectrum. It is this blue light that generates the notorious AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) that we seek to avoid. Its very short waves, between 380 and 450 nanometers, are the most energetic and therefore the most harmful to the eye.

Blue-turquoise light stimulates our biological clock. Between 450 and 500 nanometers, it is this wavelength that is most effective in activating the body. This light is a stimulant, which is what light therapy lamps offer.

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Tips and precautions

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: After 20 minutes in front of a screen, stop 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away (20 feet / 6 meters).
  • Blink more frequently to allow relaxation and cleaning of the cornea.
  • Relieve your eyes with drops. The HydraSense brand does not contain preservative, so it is less irritating to the eye.
  • Put your palms all over your eyes to block all the light. Do not apply pressure directly to the eyes. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Then remove your hands and slowly open your eyes.
  • Wear glasses with a blue light filter lenses. They are available with or without prescription..
  • Use an air purifier or humidifier to maintain the quality and humidity level of the room air.
  • Avoid using a digital device 1 hour before bedtime and 30 minutes after waking up. 
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Adjust your screens

  • In your screen settings, choose colors and contrasts that do not hurt your eyes and that match the lighting of the room you are in.
  • Keep a distance of at least 50 cm between the screen and your eyes, for a screen size of 14 inches. If using a larger screen increase the distance to 90 cm.
  • Position your screen so that your gaze is slightly downward, at an angle of about 20°.
  • Use an anti-reflection protection on your screen or position it to avoid reflections from light sources. Maintain balanced lighting and avoid using a device in complete darkness.
  • Use a document holder so that your paperwork is at the same distance from your eyes as your screens.
  • Use an adjustable ergonomic chair.
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