What is Digital Eye Strain AKA Computer Vision Syndrome?
Digital eye strain is the result of your eyes working hard when viewing monitors, TV, or computer screens. Thanks to both the way the electronic displays work as well as a reduction in blinking during prolonged viewing, you’ll likely experience strain, irritation, and temporary vision problems as a result. Unfortunately, no one is free from digital eye strain. Children and adults who spend a lot of time on their screens show similar symptoms related to computer vision syndrome (CVS).
What are the causes and symptoms of CVS?
For the eyes, focusing on an electronic display is more demanding than when viewing a flat, two-dimensional surface. Edges of games and computer graphics lack definition. Instead of solid contrast and bold edges, displays on electronic screens are shown in groups of pixels, which can be described as “dots” on the screen. Sadly, this makes focusing a constant struggle, even if you aren’t noticing it, causing eye strain.
There is also this little thing called blue light. Some blue light is normal and healthy for your eyes, but the harsh blue light used in electronic screens is the only color on the spectrum that can reach all the way to the back of your eye. Overexposure to this blue light can cause irritating symptoms and long-term damage to your eyes.
CVS causes many annoying and distracting discomforts. Among these nuisances are dry or itchy eyes, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light, double vision, and headaches. Additionally, CVS can develop neck and shoulder pain from leaning forward or tilting their head. People have also reported pseudo myopia, a temporary inability to focus on objects at a distance.
Some of the more severe problems harmful blue light can cause over time are damage to the retina and cataracts. Recent studies have linked blue light to the development of age-related macular degeneration and sleep disorders. Luckily, there are solutions to existing CVS symptoms and preventing them.
What are the effects of Blue Light?
Blue light has the shortest wavelength and, therefore, the highest energy and makes the eyes work hard to focus in on details on the screen. Blue light between 380 and 470nm is considered harmful. However, the 450nm range can be incredibly hard on the eyes as this blue light is the only light that penetrates the eye all the way to the back of the retina. Blue light affects our sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other visible light and can even cause sleep disorders after prolonged exposure.
Do not fear, not all blue light is harmful. In fact, studies show that blue light in the 500nm area is actually beneficial for you, allowing natural reflexes to prevent light overexposure. It can even help with the body’s circadian rhythms, cognitive and memory functions.
How to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome
Most of the symptoms of CVS are not permanently damaging or long term. Still, they are distracting and take away from the productivity or enjoyment of the time spent on electronic devices. There are several things people can do to decrease or prevent bothersome CVS symptoms.
One of the most comfortable and most efficient ways to avoid eyestrain from an electronic display is to take periodic breaks. Manufacturers of video game consoles recommend a ten-minute break for every hour of play. Next time you are playing your PlayStation or Xbox, try taking a moment to get up. Walk around and rest your eyes from the glare of the screen before getting back into the game. If you are at work, every hour or so, make sure you get up and stretch, use the restroom, or refresh your coffee. Allow your eyes and brain a moment to recharge. Not only will taking periodic breaks help prevent CVS, but it will also increase your productivity.
Eye drops can help to alleviate the dry, itchy eyes associated with CVS, and decreasing the display’s brightness will reduce glare and could prevent a headache. Squinting might be avoided by increasing the font size on the screen. If these steps aren’t enough, prescription and non-prescription computer glasses are available and designed to make computer screen viewing easier.
Limiting your exposure to blue light is the key. Stay away from your phone or any screen at least 30 minutes before bedtime, and don’t let it be the first thing you look at when you wake up. Accomplishing this can help prevent sleep disorders caused by blue light exposure.
If these steps are not enough, there are blue light blocking computer glasses available to help manage how much blue light your eyes are being exposed to.
How to Prevent Harmful Blue Light Exposure
Instead of just managing your symptoms, how would you like to prevent them? You’re in luck. Gunnar Eyewear has developed patented lens technology designed to filter and balance light while absorbing 65% of blue light emitted from digital devices. Computer glasses are the best way to prevent harmful blue light exposure combined with periodic breaks and limited screen time.
What is the Perfect Eyewear for Screen Viewing
Gunnar offers the only patented computer lens technology solution recommended by doctors to protect and enhance your vision. There are several stylish frames that you can choose from and different lenses that fulfill your needs. Prescription Rx eyeglasses are available for anyone who requires corrective lenses.
Amber: Best enhancement of contrast and visual performance while minimizing screen glare and diminishing the harshest parts of the color spectrum. This lens filters 65% of harmful high-intensity blue light from your screens.
Clear: The in-between solution for those who need a balanced color spectrum as well as protection from artificial blue light. This lens blocks 35% of harmful high-intensity blue light from your screens.
Amber Max: Max protection and improved sleep for nighttime screen use.
Whether you work on a computer for eight hours a day, enjoy video games, or love watching TV, you are being exposed to harmful blue light every minute you look at a screen. Remember to take periodic breaks to rest your eyes, use eye drops, and limit your screen time. But for the moments where you can’t take a break, there is a solution. Gunnar computer glasses will help prevent CVS and help alleviate symptoms you may already be experiencing.
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