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There are so many ways that technology helps us in our every day lives. It helps keep us informed on the local and global news, allows us to keep in touch with our loved ones no matter where they are, and even helps us find our way if we get lost. But how much is technology hurting us? Studies show that the average person spends 9 hours a day looking at some sort of computerized screen. For most people, that is a typical workday and then some tinkering on the computer or smartphone in their downtime. It is not easy to avoid something that has become so ingrained in our every day lives, but I wanted to discuss the ways the all this technological interaction is harming our eyes.
Technology is Causing Digital Eye Strain
Although blue light is natural in natures light spectrum, it is not safe to be consistently looking at a computer screen. Not only does this kind of light effect the amounts of melatonin your body is secreting, causing you not to get a good nights sleep, but it also causes your eyes to work way harder than they are used to. Often times when looking at a computer screen, your pupils shrink and as they get smaller, your muscles adjust and cause your eyes to converge.
Technology is Stopping Us from Blinking
Blinking is a natural process for the eyes and it is how we manage to keep our eyes well lubricated. When we are looking at a computer screen, the instinct telling us to blink doesn’t occur as often and our blink rate slows down. A slower blink rate means dryer eyes, which in turn can lead to burning and itching and general discomfort.
Technology is Giving Us Headaches
To look at a screen our pupils shrink and our eyes converge. This causes the muscles in our eyes and temples to work overtime. If you are wondering why you are suffering from headaches after a long day, it very well could be due to the time you spend in front of the computer or on your smart phone.
What Can You Do to Combat Technology?
In a perfect world, we could suggest that you get rid of technology altogether and go back to sending snail mail and telegrams. But we have come too far to go back and since technology is allowing us to do some really great things, we don’t want you to give it up.
It’s a good idea to try to limit the time that you spend in front of a screen when you do not have to be looking at one. If you are not attending to work, then we suggest looking closely at the time you spend on your computer or other gadgets in your off time and evaluating how you spend your time.
After visiting you last Thursday I started applying your prescription drops and ointment 6 nights ago. I have had wonderful results! I am sleeping comfortably for the first time in years. As you know I had been waking very frequently - up to 5 times, with extremely dry eyes, which was distressing and painful. This is like a miracle for me. I now have hope for the future and thank you most sincerely for your diagnosis, concern and care for my eyes. I wish you and your team every success at the Cork Eye Clinic.
Audrey Donovan (April 2019)