Computer screens have become a lot more portable in recent years. Prior to the advent of smartphones and tablets, people had laptop computers, bulky devices that someone can’t just whip out at any time to check the weather or send off an email. Our smaller, lighter devices, however, keep us in close proximity to our computer screens. In fact, many of us are now so connected that we are almost always within arms length of one of these devices.
And this is where the trouble starts.
In a recent article on WUSA9.com, the conveniently-named Dr. Steven Glasser, an optometrist in Washington D.C. explains that our eyes really aren’t all that happy when they are constantly focusing on close-up objects. When we spend a good chunk of the day staring at computer screens, including smartphones and tablets, we can develop eye strain. The problem has increased over the years because screens have become so portable: People are constantly looking at screens even after the workday ends.
Now eye strain itself won’t actually damage your vision, but it can give you some rather nasty symptoms, including headaches, eye redness and blurred vision. If you want to avoid eye strain caused by too much staring at screens, you’re going to have to get intentional about both giving your eyes a break and making sure that make the best use of these breaks by getting outside and looking at far-away objects. Switching to eyeglass lenses treated with an anti-reflective coating can often help.
(Parents should also be careful about making sure that their kids get plenty of breaks from their screens, particularly if their children are suddenly complaining of headaches and tired eyes.)
One word of caution: Headaches, eye redness and blurred vision can be signs of vision problems or other, more serious conditions. If you, or your child, has these symptoms, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend an eye exam or further testing.