Our Strained Relationship with Our Eyes
Updated: Nov 12, 2019
The eyes have a lot of responsibility, but it may be a little more than they're equipped for. On a daily basis kids and adults alike are subjecting themselves to an exorbitant amount of digital screen time, and the eyes are taking the brunt of it. I was reminded about our society's addiction to all things digital at the eye doctor's office today when I found myself rushing to get off my phone before the doctor walked in to the exam room. I couldn't just sit there for two minutes doing nothing. I felt I had to make use of my "extra" time and what better way to do it than watching something on my phone.
According to The Vision Council, around 80% of American adults use digital devices for more than two hours a day with nearly 67% using two or more devices simultaneously. Gone are the days when you would watch one screen at a time. At my house, you will most likely find me doing work on my phone or laptop while I'm watching a tv show, or if you're like my teen/adult step kids, you're watching a show on television AND another video simultaneously on your phone (I still don't understand this).
It's probably not surprising that almost 60% of Americans experience symptoms of digital eye strain. From dry eyes and headaches, even neck and back pain, there are quite a few side effects we see from constantly subjecting our eyes to so much digital exposure. For most of us, the need to sit in front of our computers for long hours or even use our phones to check and send emails is inevitable. Ok, sometimes we just WANT to be on our cell phones, scrolling through social media, watching videos or playing games. Regardless of the reason, there are a few things we can do to help protect our baby blues (or browns, or greens).
Optometrists suggest taking frequent breaks from using digital devices and reducing overhead lighting to eliminate screen glare. You should
also try to keep yourself at an arms distance from your computer or phone screen and opt to increase the text size to make any content you're looking at easier to read. It's also good to remember to blink more often and of course, always schedule that all important yearly exam.
Don't forget some of the best moments in life aren't seen on a screen, they happen in real life. Never underestimate the power of face to face contact. Sending a hug emoji is great, but a real one is always better.