Technology is an amazing thing. It makes our lives easier and more efficient. Go anywhere and you’re bound to see people deep in their smartphones, unaware of what’s around them (though that’s another conversation!) As wonderful as technology can be, there is something we often overlook: the effect that technology can have on the eyes.
People who use technology on a regular basis could be at risk for one of these five side effects.
Spending too much time on digital devices can lead to tension headaches. The reason for this is because staring at a screen for too long causes eye strain. Your eyes are working hard to read small, dark text against a white screen (probably like you’re doing right now). As your eyes strain to see this information, the muscles in the templates spasm.
2. Computer Vision Syndrome
Computer vision syndrome, or CVS, was coined by health experts to describe a set of symptoms associated with staring at a screen all day. At first, CVS was limited to people who worked in front of a computer. However, it now extends to the general population. The symptoms of CVS include headaches, eye strain, watery eyes, dry eye and sensitivity to light.
3. Retina Damage
If you bring your laptop or smartphone to bed, you’re one of many. Unfortunately, staying on digital devices late into the night can lead to retinal damage. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, the blue light coming from LED devices can damage the retina and lead to macular degeneration, a condition that affects your central vision. This risk grows as you age.
More research is needed on the relationship between cataracts and blue light, but early research shows that there may be a link. Because the eyes are not effective at filtering out blue light, it’s possible that blue light can cause cataracts, snow blindness and even cancer.
5. Dry Eye
Dry eye is treatable, but it is more uncomfortable than people realize. Technology can cause dry eye because when you’re looking at something close to your face, your eyes blink less often. Tears evaporate quickly, drying out the surface of the eye. If this progresses, your eyes might be sensitive to light and red and inflamed. Taking breaks and using eye drops can help.
As wonderful as technology is, it can have a negative effect on the eyes. Some things you can change (not playing on your phone at night), and others you cannot (working on a computer during the day). For times when you must use technology for a long time, take frequent breaks, blink often and use eye rewetting drops if needed.