Optometrist advise on how smartphones damage our eyes

August 14, 2017

According to optometrist who happens to be a close friend, people who use smart phones and tablets are at risk of potential irreversible eye damage because of blue light emissions from digital devices.Over dependence on smartphones has its disadvantages, especially when it comes to the health of your eyes. These concerns have been corroborated by various studies in the past. Optometrist told your blogger couple of days ago that with the explosion of handheld technology has led to an enormous increase in patients complaining of eye strain and dry eyes caused by excessive screen time.While these conditions can be treated and prevented with regular screen breaks and exercises the hazards of accrued exposure to blue light are still relatively unknown.Optometrist is convinced the potential harm to people is too great to ignore. In her practice she now fits blue light blocking filters to all patient’s prescription glasses and strongly recommends non-prescription lenses for any person who spends any time in front of a screen.She added that there is no downside to protection against blue light but there are potential downsides in not doing it. There are ways in which people can mitigate the damaging effect of a smartphone screen and shared with your blogger some of them.Most screens including those in smartphones emit high-energy blue light. It is one of the key sources of eye strain and is considered bad for the retina. Smartphone users can overcome it by switching on the Bluelight filter in the display settings. Most smartphones with custom user interface come with some form of Bluelight filter. It works by subduing the display or changing the colour tone so the screen would put less strain on the eyes. Most users keep the brightness level at full for the best experience, while many keep the brightness level too low to enhance battery backup. Both extremes can be harmful. Adjusting the brightness level to moderate and using the auto brightness to adjust the screen brightness according to ambient light is another trick which can help reduce stress on eyes and protect users from sudden glare.Evidence shows intense blue light causes damage to the back of the eye, the retina and Optometrist says exposure in people could possibly lead to early onset macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for those over 55, and to the earlier incidence of cataracts.

The risk is less for adult eyes which have a natural defence. In her explanation, as people age the lens starts to yellow which then acts to block out some of the blue light. And for kid’s, the eyes are still developing blue light is able to penetrate much more efficiently and directly into the retina. She believes that giving tablets and phones to children as young as two to play with, years down the line Optometrist really don’t know what the ramifications might be.Optometrist also noted that blue wavelengths are crucial during daylight, they boost people’s attention, reaction and mood but are disastrous at night as they interfere with circadian rhythm and disrupt sleep. Just about every digital screen whether its computer, tablet and smart phone uses Light Emitting Diode known as LED, backlight because it produces brighter and more colourful images as well as being energy efficient.However, LED also emits more blue light directly into the eye than previous screen technology such as Liquid Crystal Diode known as LCD. In this case, Optometrist says screen guards can not only protect users smartphone’s screen from scratches and impacts but can also protect eyes. A lot of screen guards come with non-reflective coating. Applying them also curbs the reflective nature of the screen and puts less stress on users eyes, which usually occurs when looking at the screen and the light source is right behind or over the head. Holding a smartphone too close to the face is another factor which can damage eyes and should be avoided. It is hard to put this into practice, though. For better or closer view, users tend to bring the smartphone closer without even realizing the damage it can cause. Optometrist added that proximity and prolonged staring without blinking are the villains, the closer a user hold the devices to eyes, the more intense the light exposure, and the higher the risk of possible damage. This makes smart phones the worst offenders and television the least harmful.The eye strain and dry eyes can be avoided and people must learn about the importance of blinking and taking regular screen breaks.There is only limited scientific evidence into the hazards of blue light, but concern appears to be growing. As someone who has been using screens for more than two decades i can say avoiding glasses and aforementioned challenges has been one of my greatest achievements in life and definitely those facing the same can do so.

Contador Harrison