Many of our patients ask us whether using a computer can damage their eyes, especially those who are required to use a screen for large parts of the day. In our digital age, a vast number of people use computers for many hours during their working day and when combined with watching TV and using smartphones, it is no surprise that many of us are looking to protect our eyes from potential harm.
However, it may surprise you to find out that using a screen will not make your eyesight worse. If your prescription has changed it will not be due to using a screen, as changes in eyesight are only a result of changes to your eyeball shape and size. Although, within children this is not always the case, as long periods of screen time when the eyes are still developing can result in near-sightedness. In contrast, children who spend vast amounts of time playing outside are more likely to develop better distance vision.
Although, using a screen for a large period of time can cause temporary vision issues due to eye strain and tiredness, which are often described as Computer Vision Syndrome. These issues are not usually serious and will go away once your eyes are able to rest. Try to look away from the screen regularly and focus on objects in the distance such as those outside the window, as this will help to relax the muscles within your eye. It is also possible to reduce eye strain by lowering the levels of light in the room, as excessive sunlight or bright lighting can cause significant eye strain.
What is the impact of blue light?
Although using a computer will not cause permanent damage to your eyesight, there is concern surrounding the effects of blue light on eye health. This type of light is emitted from screens and has the ability to penetrate and damage the retina, with concerns that this could contribute to macular degeneration and cataracts. However, it is possible to protect your eyes with lenses that are specially designed to block blue light which we can help you with.
The importance of regular eye tests
It is important to have regular eye tests, and the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 state that all employees, who are required to use Visual Display Units or computer monitors, must be provided with a fully funded eye examination whenever requested. When you attend your eye test, let your optometrist know how often you use computers, and they will check the overall health of your eyes and whether there are any medical conditions present.
If required, you will be prescribed glasses or contact lenses which will reduce your eye stain and help you to see more comfortably and clearly. The optometrist may prescribe glasses with a special coating which will reduce glare from screens, and they may recommend that you upgrade your display to a modern LCD screen to reduce eye strain.
We recommend that if you find any discomfort in your eyes that you book an eye examination with us and we can help you ease the eye strain.