Column: COVID, screen time and the eye

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Commentary by Jeremy Ciano

With so many people working from home nowadays, screen time usage has increased dramatically. Kids are now doing Zoom meetings, online athletics and “hanging out” with their friends through devices. What effect does all of this screen time have on our eyes?

There are three major components of screen time and eye problems. First and foremost, there is fatigue of the eye muscles when we focus on near objects for extended periods of time. Our eyes not only focus in and out to see clearly up close, but our muscles also have to converge at shorter distances to keep things aligned. Quick homework: Take a pencil, hold it at arm’s length, then slowly bring it into your nose. Notice how your eyes have to cross (converge) the closer it gets.

Second, screens give off glare. Glare causes us to squint and be uncomfortable when reading online. Thus, having reading glasses with anti-glare coatings helps to alleviate this uncomfortable squint, not to mention minimizing unwanted crow’s feet and wrinkles.

The third aspect of screen overuse is the long-term effects of blue light. Blue light is emitted from all screens, and its cumulative exposure is one of the leading factors causing cataracts and macular degeneration. Protection from blue light is incredibly important for all ages.

Especially now, with almost everyone, at every age, spending extended time in front of their devices, please consider protecting the eyeballs with some reading glasses that can mitigate these situations. Having eyes that are relaxed from strain, glare-free and protected from the harmful effects of blue light will do wonders for your productivity and keep your eyes safe and healthy for years to come.




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