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Understanding the Impact of Screen Time

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Screen time has become an integral part of our daily lives. Whether it’s for work, entertainment, or socializing, the average person spends hours each day looking at their screens. While these devices have revolutionized how we live and work, they also come with potential drawbacks, particularly regarding eye health. If digital screens are a big part of your or your child’s life, consider scheduling an eye exam and consulting with Dr. Brian Abrams, a trusted optometrist in Woodbridge, on managing your eye health in a digital world. 

Read on to explore the impact of screen time on our eyes and how eye exams can help. 

Digital Eye Strain

eye exam digital eye strain

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a common consequence of excessive screen time. It encompasses a range of symptoms, including dry eyes, eye fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches. The prolonged use of digital screens, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, can lead to these discomforting issues. If you’ve noticed these signs, an eye exam with an eye doctor near you is the first step to improving your eye health and comfort. 

Blue Light Exposure

Digital screens emit blue light, a high-energy, short-wavelength light that can affect our circadian rhythm and sleep patterns. While some exposure to natural blue light is essential for regulating our sleep-wake cycle, excessive exposure to artificial blue light from screens, especially before bedtime, disrupts the circadian rhythm, interfering with our ability to fall asleep and sleep restfully. 

To learn more about how blue light exposure is affecting your eye health and visual acuity, book a visit with your optometrist in Woodbridge. 

Reduced Blinking & Dry Eyes 

Staring at screens often leads to reduced blink rates. This decrease in blinking frequency can cause dry eyes. Blinking is a natural mechanism that helps spread a thin layer of tears across the surface of the eye to keep it moist and comfortable. When we blink less, we are more susceptible to eye discomfort and dryness, which ultimately interferes with vision. 

An Increase in Myopia Cases

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is on the rise globally, and there is growing concern that excessive screen time, particularly among children, may contribute to its development. While the exact relationship between screen time and myopia is still being studied, prolonged near work and reduced time spent outdoors are potential risk factors. Nearsightedness can make engaging in social activities, learning, working, and other daily activities more challenging.

Eye Irritation and Allergens

Screens, especially touchscreen devices, can harbour allergens and irritants. Additionally, environmental factors like dust and pollen can contribute to eye irritation. Those who wear contact lenses may experience even more discomfort and dryness when using digital devices for extended periods.

How Can You Manage Screen Time?

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes of screen time.
  • Adjust screen settings for comfort, including text size, contrast, and brightness.
  • There are free downloadable apps that help you manage screen time. 
  • Blink regularly to keep your eyes moist.
  • Ensure proper lighting in your workspace and reduce screen glare.
  • Use eye drops to alleviate dry eye symptoms.
  • Set limits on screen time, especially for children.
  • Consider computer glasses with blue light filters.
  • Visit your eye doctor in Vaughan for guidance, 

Protecting Children’s Eye Health

Children’s eyes are particularly vulnerable to the effects of screen time because their optical systems are still developing. Prolonged screen exposure at close distances can potentially lead to more severe eye problems in the long term.

An excess of screen time for children can be linked to:

  • Irregular sleep
  • Behavioural challenges
  • Impaired academic performance
  • Less time for physical and creative play

Encouraging outdoor activities and setting screen time limits for children is crucial for their eye health. The trusted optometrist in Woodbridge, Dr. Brian Abrams, will help guide you on the best practices for your child’s eye health.

How Your Eye Doctor in Woodbridge Can Help

A comprehensive eye exam allows your optometrist to examine the inner workings of the eye’s anatomy. A thorough assessment with Dr. Brian Abrams can warn you of a potential illness and provide you with an effective treatment plan.

Take care of your sight, take care of your health.  

Book Your Visit. 

Written by Brian Abrams

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