Many of us spend hours everyday looking at a computer screen. The light from a computer screen is made up of flickering light. It’s very fast, but it still flickers. The older CRTs are more problematic than the newer LCD displays. This flickering can cause dry, burning eyes, headaches, neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms have been given a name, Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Here are some things you can do to protect your eyes:
- Look down, not up. Position your monitor so that it is centered, about 4-8 inches below your eye level. This will help keep your shoulders and neck comfortable.
- Take a break every 15 minutes to rest your eyes – Look side-to-side and glance into the distance. Stand up at least every 2 hours and walk around. Let your eyes wander.
- Use eye drops. When you blink less and stare at a screen, this can cause dry eyes. It is best to use preservative-free, artificial tears if you need eye drops. If you wear contact lenses or have other eye issues, ask your eye doctor.
- Check your glasses, be sure they help you focus comfortably on a computer font size from about 20 to 26 inches away. You can check with your eye doctor about computer glasses.
In addition to light flickering, the blue light emitted from a computer screen can also harm the eye and lead to imbalances in the endocrine system.
Harmful Light Pollution
The Information Age has moved society into a 24/7 electronic environment which exposes us to harmful light pollution every day. New research is illuminating (I couldn’t resist the pun) the dangers of “blue light,” a high-energy wavelength of light that can disrupt the sleep cycle and cause damage to the eyes over time.
Major university studies have shown that blue light can disrupt the ability to fall asleep, interfering with circadian rhythms by suppressing the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates waking and sleeping. Circadian rhythms that have been shifted on an ongoing basis have been linked to an increased incidence of breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Unlike most wavelengths of light, blue light can penetrate deep inside the layers of tissue of one’s eyes causing a greater risk for diseases like macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness for those over 55. Children are especially vulnerable to macular damage and sleep disruption. Just as most ultraviolet exposure occurs before 18 years of age, the effects of blue light exposure are also more intense in children since they lack the protective pigments of adults. Learn more about how to deal with Computer Vision Syndrome by joining our online course.