Digital Screens and Eye Strain
You often experience eye strain while in front of the computer, don’t you? You also experience it sometimes while using your mobile phone too. Or maybe you’re a gamer spending hours in front of the TV set. Whichever the case or whatever digital screens you use, the light emitted definitely affects your eyes. How does that happen though? And what measures can we take to prevent it? Are there complications?
The Light Spectrum
Sunlight contains red, orange, yellow, green and blue light rays and many shades of each of these colors. Each color has its own energy and wavelength. Rays on the red end of the visible light spectrum have longer wavelengths and have less energy. On the other hand, rays on the blue end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and therefore have more energy. Light rays, however, as you will now know, may come from other seemingly non-harmful sources too.
Our eyes are exposed to various sources that emit this blue-violet light, most commonly from the sun. In addition, the use of tablets, TVs, computer screens and smart phones, increase the exposure to blue-violet light. Blue-violet light, then, in turn contributes to digital eye strain. The cumulative and constant exposure to the blue-violet light is going to accumulate over time and will cause damage to the retinal cells. In turn, it will slowly lead to retinal cell death and eventually progress to age-related macular degeneration.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Eye strain is the least of your concerns then. We shift our focus to macular degeneration which is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over 60 years of age. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. How do you know if you already have it? In its early stages, macular degeneration may not even have significant symptoms that you will notice. It, in fact, may be unrecognized until it progresses or affects both eyes already. The first sign of macular degeneration is usually a dim, blurry spot in the middle of your vision though. This spot may increase in size or turn darker over time.
If you are using your phone constantly, especially if you use it for texting, e-mailing, and web browsing, a convenient way to reduce your blue light exposure is to use a filter. This advice also holds true for those working long hours in front of computers or those watching too much TV shows. These filters aim to prevent significant amounts of blue light emitted from these devices from reaching your eyes. Computer glasses can also be helpful to reduce blue light exposure from computers and other digital screens. These special-purpose glasses are available without an eyeglass prescription if you have no need for vision correction.