Can Computers Damage Your Eyes? Here's What You Need to Know

It’s getting harder and harder these days to find a person who is not staring at some kind of digital screen, whether it's a computer monitor, smartphone, tablet, or laptop. An estimated 80 percent of individuals in the United States admit to using digital devices for two or more hours a day. Sixty-seven percent admit that they often use more than one device at a time. Which poses the question: how does all of this screen time impact the health of our eyes?

Can computers damage your eyes?

There is clear evidence that computer use (or consistent use on any digital device) causes eye strain and may lead to serious eye conditions such as computer vision syndrome. Computer vision syndrome is not a single condition like an infection. Instead, it is an umbrella term for many different eye problems associated with computer use. Studies show that up to 90 percent of people who work on computers for an extended length of time report some form of eye discomfort. This number includes children who use computers as part of their school day.

What are the symptoms of computer vision syndrome?

Some common complaints Dr. Poonawala might hear include:

What causes computer vision syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome can be caused by many factors including: inadequate lighting (such as a dark room that forces you to strain your eyes to see), glare on the screen, blue LED light, and other untreated vision problems.

Does computer vision syndrome lead to permanent eye damage?

Dr. Poonawala believes that staring at computer screens over time is detrimental to eye health. It’s not clear if long-term computer use leads to permanent damage to the eyes, but it can trigger other health problems like joint damage, difficulty sleeping, and depression.  

The good news is that most of the symptoms will subside with proper treatment and some common-sense lifestyle changes. Vision therapy, prescription eye drops, and special glasses lenses that block out blue light, are a few treatment options Dr. Poonawala may recommend. To determine the best treatment option for you, Dr. Poonawala will begin with an eye exam to check the overall health of your eyes and determine if corrective lenses are necessary. If you already wear glasses or contacts, it’s possible that your everyday eye prescription may not be the right choice for computer use. If this is the case, Dr. Poonawala may suggest special lenses to wear at work or school. Vision therapy is another option for medium to severe computer vision syndrome cases. Vision therapy is a structured program offered by Pack Optical that involves visual activities that train your eye and brain to work better together. Eye exercises will improve focusing, movement, and that critical brain-eye connection.

What are some smart ways to protect your eyes from computer vision syndrome?

You can start by reducing the glare on your screens and adjusting light when necessary. Make sure you maintain proper posture when standing and sitting. It’s also important to make sure you’re sitting the right distance away from the computer. Follow the 20-20-20 rule, which states: Take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away from the screen every 20 minutes.

If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer, it’s time to get proactive about your vision health. Contact Pack Optical today for more information about computer eye syndrome.

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