Watching television, updating your Instagram account, and a whole load of other digital activities are now part and parcel of our daily lives — to the point where we don’t know how we used to live without them. And our eyes are exposed to screens for a significant amount of time every day. In fact, according to the 2016 digital eye strain report conducted by The Vision Council, 60% of people spend more than 5 hours every day looking at a screen.
What’s more, the Bank of America conducted a mobility report in 2015 which found that 35% of people reach for their phones in the morning ahead of coffee, a toothbrush, or their significant other. So whilst it may satisfy our need to stay connected, is modern screen culture associated with varying levels of eye strain?
Meet your online personality
There are many different types of eye strains that can be caused by a multitude of different sources of blue-violet light. So, for those who know they spend a lot of time looking at screens, it’s important to understand which particular type of screen user you can begin to prevent any eye strain that may be happening to you.
The Social Photographer
The ‘social photographer’ can be defined as someone who constantly checks their smartphone for comments on their latest Instagram post or the person who uploads a photo of that great meal they had last night to Facebook. Sound like you? Well, you aren’t alone. A recent survey conducted by UK digital agency Tecmark suggests people check their smartphones over 200 times a day.
Using a mobile phone involves looking extremely closely at a small screen, and the various apps, ebooks, and videos available on smartphones can cause your eyes to strain should you be looking at the screen for too long.
The reason why this can happen is due to the how the eye picks up on borders between pixels, causing accommodative fatigue — a major cause of eye strain. Smartphones can reduce the amount we blink by half (which makes the eyes dry) and the muscles in our face, neck and, shoulders to tighten, causing headaches.
With the advent of online streaming services like Netflix, we no longer need to wait a week for the next episode of our favourite TV show — we can watch the whole series in one night. It may sound like the ideal night in for you, but it’s not for your eyes. Watching too much TV can cause serious eye strain: the brightness of the screen, and changing ratios, are difficult for our eyes to process, and watching TV in a dark room can increase the strain by forcing our eyes to adjust to constantly changing light levels.
Although some studies suggest video games can improve vision, they generally involve strict conditions and regular breaks. For the heavy gamer, taking eye breaks is unlikely to be a priority, especially in multiplayer games where losing focus could mean ‘game over’. Continued focus on a screen with lots of flashing images, and without rest can cause you to blink less, causing eye strain and irritation. In fact, there is now an official condition for those who frequently experience eyestrain, blurred vision, and headaches due to starting constantly at a screen without frequent breaks: computer vision syndrome. There is no direct cure for this, the best advice is to take preventative methods before you start your gaming binge.
If you’re part of the growing rise of the e-influencer trend, your social media accounts will likely be inundated with tweets, messages, and requests — and your latest blog post is not going to go unnoticed either. This barrage of online messaging will cause you to constantly switch between screens both large and small. The changing between low and high contrast screens, small and large text, and differing ratios can put strain on your eyes. What’s more, constant switching can potentially cause computer vision syndrome, through different exposure levels to screen glare and your eye muscles having to switch between different digital imagery.
Electronic displays, now an inescapable part of home life, first entered our lives in the workplace. 74% of the British public now use the internet on a daily basis — causing tired, dry eyes, and intense discomfort. The reasons behind this include reflections from the computer display, increased exposure of the cornea due to looking straight ahead (rather than down at a page), emissions, and simply forgetting to blink.
The Essilor Eyezen solution
Sure enough, too much screen time is tiring for our eyes, but this doesn’t mean you need to abandon your devices. New lenses, that don’t need to be for a prescription, can help to prevent these problems caused by staring at screens in the workplace and at home.
Whichever type of online personality you are, whichever devices you use, Eyezen lenses can reduce your eyestrain. Unlike ordinary glasses, these innovative lenses are made for the modern world — and the digital devices that come with it. They are designed to relieve visual fatigue, improve contrast, and prevent against premature ageing of the eyes, caused by UV and blue-violet light in our everyday lives. Some sources of blue-violet light include modern indoor lighting and the sun.
We can’t avoid blue- light altogether, however. It is most commonly found in sunlight, and the blue turquoise part helps to regulate our sleep/wake cycles, as well as boosting our alertness and moods. It’s just when we are exposed to the violet part for too long when it can become a problem. That’s why the Essilor Eyezen lenses selectively filter out the harmful blue-violet light rays emitted the sun and some modern light sources while letting the beneficial blue-turquoise light through. The enhanced lenses allow you to see accurately and comfortably no matter what digital device you are using – no prescription necessary.