The Strain From Screens

Digital Eye Strain. Pre-pandemic school did not cause as much Digital Eye Strain (DES). If anything, students’ phone usage was the only major contributor to DES. Circumstances have changed, homework has switched to an online format, and along with this, DES levels have risen. he general public has suffered from this as well from needing to work from home. Now more than ever, it is important to make sure that students, teachers and parents take care of their eyes, even if this means turning on the Blue Light Filter on our devices.

Article & Photo By: Emmanuel Vallarta

Now more than ever, Digital Eye Strain & Blue Light Eye Strain is a concern for the general public. In the pre-pandemic world, our eyes weren’t exposed to endless hours of school work on a computer screen. We used our technology to entertain ourselves, and for school work occasionally. Distance learning has drastically changed this. Our lives are more connected to our computers and phones than they have ever been before. All of our assignments are either done online or submitted online. Given this prolonged exposure to screens, how are we supposed to keep our eyes safe and strain-free?

Luckily, there are ways to tackle digital eye strain. A simple but effective way to tackle eye strain is to blink more. Yes, it is that simple. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “The reason we get digital eye strain is that we blink less when we stare at our devices. Normally, humans blink around 15 times per minute—but this “blink rate” can be cut in half when staring at screens or doing other near work activities (like reading)…” This is the secret to decrease eye strain. When you are feeling eye strain, remember to take a break from your screens. Let your eyes relax, go do your skincare or take a bath. Your computer will be waiting for you when you come back.

Blue light eye strain isn’t as severe as normal eye strain. The sun naturally emits blue light, and this is good for us. Blue light helps with alertness, memory, & cognitive functions. It regulates our circadian rhythm, which is the body’s natural sleep cycle. During the day, these are great, but once we are near the hours of the night when we are ready to sleep, blue light can keep us awake & harm our sleep cycle (PreventBlindness.org.) Now before you run to buy blue light glasses, there are simple ways to prevent blue light from even being emitted from your device. Blue light filters are now a standard on any electronic device. Check your device’s display settings, and see if yours has a blue light filter. If it doesn’t, there are many apps you can download to do the same job as an in-built blue light filter.

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