In full digital ageit is impossible to conceive our life without the presence of electronic devices, because such is their importance that, practically, they have become an extension of our being, which is why they are an integral part of our daily lives. From smart phones and tablets until computers and televisions, These devices accompany us in almost all our daily activities, whether for job, educationentertainment or communication. However, prolonged use of these technologies is generating great concern among the population, given that it can have a significant impact on health, especially at a visual level, bringing with it a series of eye problems.

“The American Ophthalmological Association revealed that between 65% and 85% of Adults worldwide experience eye discomfort with symptoms, such as dry eyes, blurry vision and headache, due to exposure to screens of approximately 7 to 8 hours a day. In short, when we use the computer or cell phone for a long period of time, without realizing it we blink less, changes occur in visual accommodation, that is, the eye's ability to focus on objects at different distances is altered, as well as We also tend to get closer to the screen and force convergence to maintain correct binocular vision, so all these aspects can contribute to the development of different vision problems. visual health”, explained Dr. Amelia Cerrate, ophthalmologist at the OftalmoMedic Clinic to Bienestar.

What factors influence the development of eye problems due to the use of electronic devices?

Certainly, the way you hold the device and the distance at which it is held can affect eye strain and the development of problems, such as myopia or presbyopia. For this reason, it is essential to maintain a distance of 45 cm to 80 cm from screens depending on size and visual conditions.

Prolonged concentration on screens at close range can cause temporary blurred vision. This is because the eye muscles become fatigued from maintaining constant focus at a close distance.

“Likewise, inappropriate brightness and contrast settings on screens can cause eye strain and eye discomfort. Likewise, poor ambient lighting can negatively affect eye health, especially when combined with prolonged use of technological devices. Basically, when lighting is insufficient, the eyes tend to work harder to see the screen clearly, causing eye strain, headaches, blurred vision and even dry eyes. Of course, the time of use is decisive, since the more time a person spends in front of a computer or cell phone, the greater the possibility of experiencing eye problems. It is also important to note that if an individual has a pre-existing condition, in other words, if they suffer from a vision problem, such as myopia or astigmatismyou may experience worsening of your symptoms due to overexposure,” said Karin Arellano, ophthalmologist at the Ricardo Palma Clinic.

What are the main visual health problems due to prolonged use of electronic devices?

Among the main visual problems that are related to the use of these devices are: computer vision syndrome or also known as digital eye fatigue, which can cause a feeling of tiredness in the eyes after looking at a screen for a long time. In addition, it causes dryness and discomfort in the eyes, difficulty focusing correctly, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain.

“Similarly, the increase in the prevalence of myopia, especially among children and adolescents, has been associated with prolonged screen time. “Often, when we use these devices, we maintain a shorter viewing distance than recommended, which can put additional pressure on the eye muscles and contribute to the development of this condition,” said the specialist from the Ricardo Palma Clinic.

Also exposure to blue light emitted by screens can affect circadian rhythms and melatonin production, which can interfere with sleep patterns. Specifically, as Dr. Cerrate mentioned, poor sleep quality, in turn, can impact ocular and general health.

Poor lighting when using electronic devices can have several negative effects on visual health. For example, when you are in a low-light environment and using your phone, your eyes have to work harder to adapt to the screen, causing eye fatigue, headaches, blurred vision, and even dry eyes.

“It should be noted that, in the face of these visual problems, especially visual fatigue, which can generate symptoms such as dry eye, redness and irritation, it is crucial that patients avoid self-medicatesince the use of certain antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, such as ocular steroids without a medical prescription, can increase eye pressure in the long term, thus generating glaucoma and even blindness.”

What are the warning signs of prolonged use of electronic devices on visual health?

According to the ophthalmologist, some of the warning signs that the use of electronic devices is negatively affecting visual health include:

  • Blurry vision.
  • Redness of the eye.
  • Headache.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Eye pain.
  • Feeling of grit in the eye.
  • Difficulty focusing.

What impact does blue light have on eye health?

Blue light emitted by electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers has been the subject of concern due to its potential impact on health. Basically, it has been suggested that prolonged exposure to this light, especially before bedtime, can interfere with the natural sleep cycle and cause eye strain, dry eyes and even long-term problems such as macular degeneration. However, as the expert from the OftalmoMedic Clinic assured, the scientific evidence on the exact effects of this type of light on visual health, especially on retinal cells, is still not conclusive.

“Currently, blue light filters are available on the market, which can help reduce exposure to light generated by electronic devices. In a certain way, they can help counteract eye fatigue; However, it is important to remember that it has not yet been scientifically proven that it causes direct damage to the retina. Although what is proven is that it reduces sleep, therefore, it is advisable to avoid using these devices before going to sleep.”

It is important to take steps to reduce eye strain, such as taking frequent eye breaks and adjusting brightness and contrast settings while using these devices, as well as having regular eye exams to detect vision problems early.

How do devices affect children's visual health?

There are definitely differences in the way technological devices affect the visual health of children compared to adults. In principle, as Karin Arellano highlighted, infants tend to be more susceptible, since they are in critical stages of visual development, so prolonged exposure can have a negative impact on their eyes, thus increasing the risk of various eye problems, such as fatigue. eye, blurred vision, headaches and dry eyes.

Does the risk to eye health differ depending on the type of electronic device?

In general, all electronic devices can pose a risk to visual health; However, there are certain factors that can influence its impact. For example, devices with smaller screens or lower resolution may require people to work harder to read or view content, which can increase eye strain and discomfort.

“Likewise, the distance at which the device is held can also affect eye strain. For example, smartphones or tablets are often held closer to the eyes as opposed to laptops, which could increase the prevalence of developing myopia,” Arellano specified.

What preventive measures help reduce the effects of electronic deposits on visual health?

In order to minimize the effects of devices on visual health, Dr. Amelia Cerrate recommended the following measures:

  • Follow the “20-20-20” rule, which is every 20 minutes, look 20 feet (6 meters) away for at least 20 seconds. This helps to have more frequent visual breaks.
  • Blink regularly.
  • Reduce the brightness of the screens.
  • Use anti-reflective lenses.
  • Work in spaces with natural light.
  • Maintain an adequate distance from computer, phone or tablet screens (between 45 to 80 cm).
  • Perform eye exercises.
  • Use of natural tears or eye moisturizers without preservatives, always under medical recommendation.
  • Have an eye checkup every year to detect visual problems early.

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