The many technological advances that have occurred over the past few decades have propelled us into an era of being “plugged in.” When we need to check or send an email, we may do it on our smart-phone. When we want a little rest and relaxation when we’re not in the office (staring at a computer screen), we may play games on our tablet, or read a book on our Kindle or other device. You get the point. While there are no cold, hard facts that shout “Hey! All that technology is damaging your vision!,” There are signs. The increased number of complaints we hear from patients is one of them.
Some of the Consequences of Technology include:
- Tension headaches. Pain from a tension headache may occur at the neck and shoulders. Often, though, it is localized to the forehead and temples. This is because there are small muscles in these areas that contract when you stare at a small screen. If you must use technology for longer reads, use a Kindle or Nook, which is developed to reduce eye strain.
- Dry eye. Your eyes naturally blink a certain number of times when we are observing objects at various distances. When you focus on something up close, you instinctively slow your rate of blinking. The longer your eyes are open, the more evaporation occurs in the natural tear film. It is necessary to remind yourself to blink frequently when using a mobile device or other small screen, or even your computer.
- Eye strain. When you look at a small screen, your eyes must come together more intensely than they do when you are looking into the distance several feet. The muscles have to adjust, and the pupils get smaller in order to take in detailed information. Generally speaking, the eyes are more comfortable in a parallel position, not when they are forced to converge to a “centerpoint.”
We have several reasons for unplugging from technology as often as possible. Reducing the negative effects on the eyes is one more to add to a growing list.