The digital eyestrain syndrome results from looking at screens of computers, phones and tablets for a long time and includes various vision disorders. Ophthalmologist Dr. Zeynep Dadacı explains the disease: "The most common complaints of patients are eyestrain and pain, headache, blurry or double vision, burning and stinging eyes, watery or dry eyes, itching and rash.Even though taking breaks while using screens help in the recovery from these complaints, most of the time it is not possible to get away from screens due to work or other reasons. Especially for those who have underlying vision disorders or eye surface diseases, looking at screens for a long time increases current vision problems and deteriorates life quality."
Dadacı stressed that various mechanisms play a role in digital eyestrain problems. "In particular, if the distance between the eyes and computer screens is wrong and screens are not located at the right angle and someone drops his or her head too much, using a tablet or phone can cause problems such as headache or neck pain. One of the reasons regarding eyes is the balancing attempt in the crystalline lens to clarify vision while looking at the short distance. Muscles in eyes contract, inflating crystalline lens to be able to see the short distance clearer. We can compare this to a camera. Eyes that have to find a balance all the time as a result of looking at a short distance for a long time cause eye muscles to get tired. Especially in the case of underlying diseases such as hyperopia, this can cause focusing problems, blurry vision, diplopia and headache. Another reason for eyestrain is blinking less in front of computer screens, which results in dryness on the exposed eye surface depending on the angle. The existence of underlying diseases, the use of contact lenses, some drugs and systemic diseases can increase vision disorders caused by this mechanism," she noted.
How can we protect our eyes tired by smart devices?
The first step in the treatment of digital eyestrain is to detect underlying mechanisms and eliminate them. Thus, those who have to use a computer at work must get their eyes tested regularly. Treatment of underlying diseases and eye surface illnesses relieve eyestrain.
Keeping environmental factors under control is essential
Work environment light should be arranged to decrease brightness and reflections and should not be reflected directly into eyes. Screen brightness should be similar to light in the environment and contrast should be increased. Screen filters and glasses protecting against blue-purple lights can be used.
The distance between eyes and a computer screen should be 50-70 cm and the middle point of the screen should be lower than the eye level up to 10-15 cm. Using computers, tablets or phones very close increases the balancing need of eyes and causes fatigue in eyes and headaches.
Eyes should be move away from screens for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
Humidity and temperature in the environment should be arranged and direct exposure to air-conditioners should be avoided.
Apart from keeping environmental factors under control, daily life changes such as drinking enough water, having a healthy and balanced diet - getting sufficient essential fatty acids and vitamins - and having a regular sleep pattern can help decrease digital eyestrain.
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