Eye strain in digital life

There’s a Bengali saying that goes something like this that we don’t appreciate the blessings of having teeth while we have them. It advises evaluating things when they are still in good shape or we will have to regret it later.

In today’s technology-driven world, the pressure on our eyes is more than ever. And the idiom mentioned above is more suitable for the eyes too.

It’s almost impossible to find someone who hasn’t suffered from eye strain at least once in their life. It can be very uncomfortable and uncomfortable, and continuous exposure without mitigating measures can cause permanent damage to our eyes.

Eye strain is not a disease but a group of symptoms after prolonged use of our eyes. Eye strain can manifest itself in a number of ways including headache, dryness of the eyes, blurred vision, and sometimes even neck and shoulder pain.

One of the most common eye strain factors these days is excessive use of digital screens, such as computers, gaming devices, cell phones, or other digital screens. This is so common that ophthalmologists coined a new term “Computer Vision Syndrome” or “Digital Eye Strain” to categorize it.

It is estimated that an adult spends an average of seven hours a day on the computer. This becomes especially problematic when we try to see the screen in low light or use extreme brightness or glare.

Typically, people blink 15-20 times per minute to avoid dryness and irritation. Unfortunately, when we stare at our computer or cell phone screen, the blinking decreases. As a result, the surface of the eye becomes dry, which leads to eye strain.

Eyes work harder than normal when we look at a digital screen. The texts on the computer or handheld are often not precisely or sharply delimited and the contrast between the letters and the background is reduced.

Added to this are the glare and reflections on the screen. The high visual demands are often not compensated for by sufficient rest periods for our eyes. As a result, people can develop many eye problems. If we already have vision problems with glasses, the symptoms of eye strain get worse.

Usually the eye strain problem is relieved after our eyes have rested for some time. However, it is imperative that we take some protective measures to reduce its incidence and severity.

One way to do this is to use a matte screen filter to prevent glare. Another common rule of thumb that we can follow is 20-20-20. This is translated to mean that every 20 minutes we should be looking at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

Also, it is not advisable to stare at the screen all the time, and it is important to take a 15-minute break every 2 hours. We should also make an effort to blink frequently when working on a computer or other digital display.

Provide adequate lighting in the room in which the device is used. It shouldn’t be too dark or too light. For contact lens wearers, it can be helpful to switch to glasses from time to time in order to use the devices.

There are some adjustments we can make to our devices, especially computers, to reduce the risk of eye strain.

First of all, it is important to place the computer screen at the correct distance and angle. Ideally, the screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level, which is about 4 or 5 inches measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from your eyes.

Work chairs should also be properly oriented so that feet rest on the floor with arms on armrests. It is advisable to keep your wrists away from the keyboard while typing.

Although eye strain is generally not severe, it can occur with persistent pain, redness, loss of vision, or eye irritation. In these circumstances, it is necessary to see an ophthalmologist and get proper care.

Imtiaz Ahmed completed his MBBS at Dhaka Medical College.

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