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Digital Eye Strain

What to Know About Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Blue light blocking glasses has been a trending topic. These are glasses or lenses that are specially designed to block blue light that emits from LED or CFL lights, computer monitors, phones, TVs, and other digital screens. Blue light can come from almost any light source including the sun.

Our current lifestyles expose our eyes to more blue light for longer periods during the day. Where previously we may have only been exposed to blue light from the sun, many people now spend more hours in front of screens or under fluorescent lights throughout the day and after the sun has gone down. For some, this exposure can cause eye strain and physical discomfort.

Benefits of Blue Light

Blue light can boost our moods, help with memory and cognitive function, and make us more alert. Blue light is an important factor in regulating our circadian rhythm – the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. 

The growth and development of children’s eyes could be affected by not getting enough blue light from the sunlight. Some studies are showing that a deficiency in blue light exposure could contribute to the recent increase in myopia.

Blue Light and Damage to the Eyes

There is not currently enough evidence to suggest that blue light from digital screens will cause any harm. Intense blue light from sunlight can raise the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye diseases, the same level is not emitted from computers or other artificial blue light sources.

More studies are needed to understand if blue light from monitors causes optic damage but there is no harm in wearing blue light blocking lenses.

There is some concern that long-term exposure, the nearness of screens, and the length of time spent on them could affect eyes over time and lead to digital eye strain. People also tend to blink less while looking at screens causing the eyes to feel dry, irritated, or burn.

Discuss any concerns you have with your eye health with your local optometrist. Factors such as age, eye conditions, length of exposure, and general eye health can play a role in your decision to use blue light blocking lenses. Your primary eye care doctor will be able to help you make an informed decision.

What is known, is that too much blue light exposure at night can disrupt the circadian rhythm. This can lead to problems with sleep which affects your overall health. 

Digital Eye Strain

A survey from the American Optometric Society found that most adults, 58%, experience some form of digital eye strain. The study conducted in 2015 noted the average U.S. worker spends about seven hours a day on the computer at work or home. A more recent survey showed that at the end of 2019, U.S. adults were spending almost 12 hours in front of a screen. The increased screen time may create digital eye strain for some individuals. It may also make symptoms of digital eye strain worse.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Individuals can experience digital eye strain differently. Common symptoms can include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Tearing or watery eyes
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Neck strain

How to Ease Digital Eye Strain

There are steps you can take to reduce digital eye strain:

  • Take breaks from screens often
  • Increase the contrast on your screen
  • Use artificial tears
  • Try to minimize glare
  • Blink frequently.

Choosing Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Although science hasn’t been able to verify that blue light causes eye diseases, many people who’ve tried a pair of blue light blocking glasses have found them to be effective at improving sleep and reducing eye strain. They can protect your eyes from artificial blue light. 

We use Zeiss lenses at Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses offering superior technology. Blue light blocking technology is incorporated into the lenses themselves as opposed to just using coatings that provide up to 50% less reflection. Together this can help to reduce digital eye strain and eye fatigue.

Zeiss lenses can fit into any frames. Our Albuquerque clinic has some great eyeglass frames from Etnia Barcelona, Modo, Eco, Ovvo, and more for you to choose from. Our experts can help you choose the perfect frames and lenses for your vision needs and lifestyle.

It is also important to protect the eyes from the sun. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses when outside. We also carry sunglasses and can help you find the best pair for you.

If you have concerns about eye strain or about the amount of time you spend looking at screens, book an appointment and discuss blue light blocking lenses with an optometrist at our Albuquerque clinic. 

8 Ways to Protect Your Eyes at the Office

Everyone seems to be staring at a screen these days, whether their computer, their smartphone or another digital device. The stress it puts on your eyes can cause a condition called “digital eye strain” (DES) or “computer vision syndrome” (CVS). Symptoms include eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, red eyes, and eye twitching.

How To Protect Your Eyes While You Work

Below are a few things you can do to lower your risk or mitigate any discomfort associated with DES. 

1. See your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam

This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or treat symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome. During your eye doctor’s appointment, make sure to speak with our optometric team about your working habits, including the frequency and length of time you use a computer and other devices at work and at home.

If you get a chance before you come, measure the distance between your eyes and your computer screen and bring that information to the optometrist, so that you can get your eyes tested for that specific working distance.

Computer vision syndrome may be exacerbated by an underlying dry eye disease, which can be diagnosed and treated at our eye clinic in Albuquerque.

Sometimes people who have good visual acuity assume they don’t need any glasses. However, even very mild prescriptions can improve eyestrain and curb fatigue when working at a computer. 

2. Good lighting is key 

Excessively bright light, whether due to outdoor sunshine coming in through the window or harsh interior lighting, is a common cause of eyestrain. When using your computer, your ambient lighting should be about 50% dimmer than what is typically found in most offices. 

You can reduce exterior light by closing drapes, blinds or shades and diminish interior illumination by using fewer or lower intensity bulbs. Computer users often find that turning off overhead fluorescent lights and replacing them with floor lamps is easier on their eyes. 

3. Minimize glare

Eyestrain can be aggravated by glare from light reflecting off surfaces including your computer screen. Position your computer so that windows are neither directly in front of nor behind the monitor, but rather to the side of it. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your display. If you wear glasses, get anti-reflective (AR) coating on your lenses to reduce glare by limiting the amount of light that reflects off the front and back surfaces of your lenses (more on that below.)

4. Upgrade your display 

If you have a CRT (cathode) screen on your monitor, consider replacing it with a flat-panel LED (light-emitting diode) screen that includes an anti-reflective surface. Old-school CRT screens can be a major cause of computer eye strain due to the flickering images. 

For your new flat panel desktop display, choose one with a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches, and the higher the resolution, the better.

5. Adjust display settings for added comfort 

Adjusting your computer display settings can help decrease eye strain and fatigue too.

  • Brightness: Adjust your device’s brightness to match the luminance around you. If the white background of this page looks like a light source, then it should be dimmed. However, if it appears dull and gray, it may not provide enough contrast, which can make it hard to read.
  • Text size: Adjust the text size for maximum eye comfort, particularly when reading, editing or writing long documents. Increase the size if you find yourself squinting, but bigger isn’t always better, since overly large text display may force your eyes to track back and forth too quickly for comfort.
  • Color temperature: This refers to the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light, whereas orange and red are longer wavelength hues. Exposure to blue light helps keep you alert but tends to cause eye fatigue after a while; yellow to red tints are more relaxing and may be better for long-term viewing, especially at night. Many devices allow the user to adjust the color temperature.

6. Get computer glasses

Nearly 70% of North Americans experience digital eye strain related to prolonged use of electronic devices. To combat these effects, Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses recommends digital protection coatings, which act as a shield to cut the glare and filter the blue light emanating from digital screens and artificial light.

For the greatest eye comfort, ask our optometric team for customized computer glasses, which feature mildly tinted lenses that filter out blue light. These can be made with or without prescription vision correction, for the benefit of those with 20/20 vision or contact lens wearers, though many people with contacts actually prefer to have alternative eyewear to use when their lenses become dry and uncomfortable from extended screen time.

Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses can help you choose from a vast array of effective optical lenses and lens coatings to relieve the effects of digital eye strain. 

7. Don’t forget to blink 

When staring at a digital device people tend to blink up to 66% less often, and often the blinks performed during computer work are only partial which aren’t as effective at keeping the eyes moist and fresh feeling. Making a conscious effort to blink more while working or watching can prevent dryness and irritation.

8. Exercise your eyes

Another cause of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue. Look away from your computer every 20 minutes and gaze at an object located 20 feet away, for a minimum of 20 seconds. This “20-20-20 rule” is a classic exercise to relax the eyes’ focusing muscles and reduce computer vision syndrome.

 

The steps above don’t require a tremendous amount of time or money to be effective. Contact Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque to make an appointment with our optometric team and learn how the right eye drops, eye exercises, computer glasses, or AR coatings can improve eye comfort, reduce computer vision syndrome and potentially lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.