OK. I don’t mean to belabor this subject too long but it is so important and so prevalent in our daily lives now. So this will be the final edition for now. I’m going to go into a little more risk and then things that you can do about it.
So to summarize where we are, up to this point. We know that there is cumulative damage due to all the devices we use today. The blue light can cause damage but is also beneficial for us. We know that it controls our circadian rhythms, controlling how well we sleep and when. However, it is absorbed by the eye causing cataracts and damage to the macula over time. We also know there is eye fatigue from computer and device use and we have discussed proper habits such as taking a break every 20 min. looking 20 ft away for 20 sec. We discussed anti-fatigue lenses for everyone and not just the over 40 crowd.
We can also use AR, anti reflective lens coatings to protect our eyes by reflecting the UV and 20% of the blue light off the front and back surfaces of the lens. Another thing we can do is adjust the amount of light from overhead and surrounding light that is competing with the devices screen. Also adjust the brightness of the screen and consider changing the background color from bright white to a cool gray. Attaching a glare reduction filter to your monitor screen helps to reduce the effects of the device as well as lessen the eye fatigue.
Our blink rate reduces by approximately 50% when using digital devices.This causes or worsens a dry eye situation. We have to become conscious of blinking and use rewetting drops or artificial tears several times throughout the day. So just keep a bottle near your workspace and even set a timer on your smart phone to remind you to use them periodically.
A new phenomenon called “text neck” is due to the use of smart phones. By leaning the head forward by 60* we in essence put 60lbs of pressure on the neck. This is creating a whole new problem for headaches and spinal issues for users.
We need to understand all of this intense blue light device usage is contributing to the development of myopia. So if you are continuing to creep upward in your prescription for nearsightedness perhaps limiting the amount of time spent on a device could help influence that progression.
Lastly, the damage done to the pigment in the macular area is leading to an anticipation of more macular degeneration in the coming years. This is a terrible problem because it is considered permanent and is not really treatable with today’s medical knowledge. However, we also know that Lutein and Zeaxanthin are very helpful in protecting the pigment and the progression of macular degeneration. So if you are into supplements the eye vitamins from the AREDS 2 study indicated that these two as well as the anitoxidants are very beneficial. If you are concerned about your risk for macular degeneration call for an appointment and Dr. Jones will be happy to discuss your specific risks and what you can do about it.
I hope this discussion has been helpful since we all are tied more and more to these pieces of wonderful technology. We use them in every aspect of our lives and that isn’t going to go away. So we really do have to become knowledgeable about how to take care of our eyes while doing so.