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The Age of Computer Vision: The Truth About Your Eyes and the Digital World

The Age of Computer Vision: The Truth About Your Eyes and the Digital World

In this digital age, you could spending more than half the day in front of your computer, tablets, television, not knowing how these, while seemingly making your life convenient, are also costing you your precious eyesight. You can’t prevent technology from happening, but can you preserve your vision? 

 The computer vision syndrome

Several eye experts have created the term computer vision syndrome to describe a new problem affecting approximately ninety percent of people who stare continuously at a screen of a smartphone, a computer or even an e-book reader for more than two hours everyday. If you notice how bloodshot your eyes are at the end of the day, you may be spending too much time with your digital devices.

What symptoms come with computer vision syndrome? Some short term signs include blurred vision, dry eyes and headaches. Over time, when not managed properly, the syndrome may develop into long-term myopia (or near-sightedness). It should not take frequent occurrences of these symptoms for one to take action. All health conditions are best controlled with prevention.

 Eyeing the future

According to optometrist Andrea Thau, O.D., from the American Optometric Association in New York, people’s eyes today have transcended into three-dimensional vision. It seems as if our vision has adjusted to this feature of high-definition flat-screen televisions, so much so that we end up squinting and straining over images on a 2-D screen. This is because our eyes have become so used to 3-D that our eyes look for them in all digital screens.

The eyes can naturally focus optimally on objects that lie up to 20 feet away from the face. But when people sit in front of their computers, they usually sit too close, less than 2 feet, so the muscles of the eyes contract continuously in an effort to focus better on something closer. Imagine that the eyes keep making this effort for hours as long as you sit staring at your digital device screen. The muscles become restless, even after you have looked away from the screen. The result is blurry vision that typically clears up in a few seconds, but occurs several times in one day. It can occur so frequently, that the person is most likely to be diagnosed with permanent nearsightedness.

Another symptom of CVS is dry eyes. The eyes become parched and itchy, but may be considered trivial compared to long-term vision blurriness. However, the dryness can cause a lot of eye rubbing, scratching and wiping, which can all eventually lead to an eye infection, or several.

It’s not a matter of what you do at the computer. The eyes cannot distinguish gaming, reading email or creating spreadsheet files. To the eyes, as long as you are staring into the screen, they need to keep working non-stop without remembering to blink. Blinking is a reflex with a purpose – it helps the eyes get rid of dirt, dust and keeps the eyeballs lubricated. People should blink at least 16 times per minute, but people who use digital media too often only blink 6 times or even lesser.

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