You may have heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking.” At Raleigh Eye Center, we think the slogan should be “staring is the new smoking.” Most adults in this day and age spend massive amounts of time staring at screens, and the damage it does to our eyes can be significant. Below are just a few ways you can protect your eye health in the digital world.
Adjusting your computer’s default brightness, contrast, and text size settings can help reduce your eye strain. (PC users can make these adjustments in the Control Panel; Mac users can change them in System Preferences.)Brightness—if your computer can be used as a light source, like a flashlight, in the dark, it’s probably too bright. Give your eyes some relief by adjusting the brightness to match your surrounding workstation. Never work on a bright screen while in total darkness.
Contrast—Black print on a white background tends to be easy to read due to its high contrast. However, you might try increasing or reducing the contrast levels to see if either adjustment helps your eye strain.
Text size—Reading an extra-large font might make you feel like a senior citizen, but not as much as cataracts or macular degeneration
Brightness—if your computer can be used as a light source, like a flashlight, in the dark, it’s probably too bright. Give your eyes some relief by adjusting the brightness to match your surrounding workstation. Never work on a bright screen while in total darkness.
Blue light, the portion of visible light with the shortest wavelengths and highest amount of energy, is actually more damaging to our eyes than warm-colored light. Most blue light comes from the sun, which is why we see the sky as blue. Since blue waves are shorter, you might think they do less damage to our eyes. In fact, it is more easily scattered and less focused, so when we look at a blue-tinted screen, the unfocused visual “noise” hurts our eyes. Blue light is also very damaging because almost all of it passes through the cornea and goes right to the retina, damaging light-sensitive cells and causing macular degeneration over time. Long story short? Adjust your screen to a red or orange tint, and protect your retinas.
There are many low-cost items available online that can help protect your eyes from digital screen strain. You could install an anti-glare screen on your monitor; use a computer hood to reduce outside light; or wear yellow-tinted computer glasses to minimize blue light damage. If you wear prescription glasses, purchasing a brand with an anti-reflective AR coating can help reduce the amount of light reflecting off the front and back of your lenses. Finally, if you are able, you might consider painting any bright white walls in your work area a darker color with a matte finish.
If you work at a job that requires you to use a computer for much of the day, it’s very important to get a yearly eye exam. Our Raleigh NC optometrists can help test your eyes for common vision problems and assess whether your vision is worsening over time. If you need an eye exam in Raleigh, book an appointment with Raleigh Eye Center today.