5 ways the digital age affects your eyesight

Tuesday, 2 August 2022 by Vision Direct

Woman works on a computer at her desk

Digital technology has become an integral part of our lives. You may notice that some days you spend more time online than offline. Thanks to technological advances, we are all spending more and more hours in front of a screen, and as a result, this has a negative impact on our vision.

If you work long days behind a screen, you may suffer from dry eyes. This can be frustrating, especially if you wear contact lenses. But there are also many other ways in which screens impact our eyesight. Below, we look at the different ways in which our interactions with screens can negatively impact our vision, while also providing useful tips on how to take good care of your eyes.

Woman sits on the sofa and uses her laptop

1. You look at a screen for several hours each day

How many hours of screen time do you get in a day? Honest answers only! We live in an era that is full of technological gadgets and new digital possibilities. Information can be accessed very quickly these days and more and more of our social interactions are online instead of offline. Due to this digitisation, many people spend more than 6 hours looking at a smartphone, tablet or television screen every day. Unfortunately, your eyes suffer the consequences of this. You have probably noticed that you suffer from dry eyes when you work for a long time at the computer or scroll through Instagram and TikTok all evening.

Our tip: give your eyes a rest every day by taking a break from screens. Go out for a walk, meet up with friends on a terrace or play sports. That way, your eyes don't have to strain by looking at a screen all the time.

2. You don’t blink often enough

If you spend a whole day in front of the computer, you will eventually suffer from dry contact lenses. There is a very clear reason for this: when you focus on a computer screen, smartphone, or tablet, you blink 66% less than normal. Because you blink less, your eyes and your lenses are less hydrated. This can make your lenses feel dry and as a result, you can suffer from symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, tired and stinging eyes.

It is good to be aware of this and pay attention to blinking as often as possible. For example, you can use the 20-20 rule: this means that every 20 minutes you look away from your screen for 20 seconds and consciously blink a few times. If you forget this, you can set a timer on your computer to remind you every 20 minutes to look away from your screen.

3. You have been wearing the same type of lenses for years

Bausch + Lomb ULTRA® contact lense

A number of contact lens wearers will opt away from contact lenses because of dry eyes, however there are new types of lenses on the market today that have been specially developed for people who continuously work with computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

One product that is optimised to combat the strain of looking at a screen for a prolonged period of time is Bausch + Lomb ULTRA® contact lenses. These soft monthly lenses are ideal if you often have to look at a computer screen for a long time. Its MoistureSeal® technology prevents the lenses from drying out even if the wearer is blinking less. Even after 16 hours of wear, this monthly lens still contains 95% of the moisture.

It is important to use the right lens solution. That’s why we recommend Biotrue contact lens solution for this lens. This contact lens solution ensures that you can wear your lenses all day long without them feeling dry. Biotrue is suitable for all types of soft contact lenses, including silicone hydrogel lenses. Thanks to the powerful formula, Biotrue contact lens solution kills 99.9% of all germs on the lens.

Discover Bausch + Lomb ULTRA lenses

4. You work at your computer in the dark

This probably sounds familiar: you’re on your computer or tablet in the evening and before you know it the room is completely dark and the only light in the room comes from your screen. Watching a lit screen in a dark room can be very tiring for your eyes. That’s why it is important to work in a room where there is preferably natural light. Do you work in a room with little daylight? Make sure you have the right lighting set up, and that lights aren’t positioned in a way that will cause them to point directly at your eyes, or reflect off the screen.

It is also important to pay attention to the settings of your screen. Adjust the colour settings and contrast so that it is pleasant for your eyes to look at the screen. If you find yourself squinting too much to get a good view of everything on the screen, adjusting the monitor resolution or font size may also help. If this does not help, there is a possibility that you are no longer wearing the correct lens strength. Make sure you go to the optician every other year for an eye test, so that you are always sure that you’re wearing the correct prescription lenses.

5: You don't follow the correct screen position

Man sits at his desk and looks at his computer screen in the dark

Be honest: how often do you slump at your desk? Or sit with hunched shoulders and your neck craned at a bad angle? This could be the result of a screen that is not positioned correctly. Nothing is more annoying than a computer screen that is too far away or too close. This is not only unpleasant for your eyes, it can also be bad for your posture if your screen is not at the right distance from your face. For example, you can get shoulder pain from craning your body forward to see the screen if it is too far away, and if your screen is too high, it will also put too much strain on your neck. Even back pain can be the result of the wrong screen position.

It's best to place your screen at such a distance from you that everything is easily reachable and readable. This normally means about 50 to 65 centimetres of space between your face and the screen. A good way to estimate this distance is by sitting with your back against your chair and positioning the screen at arm's length. It is recommended to place the top of the screen at eye level or just below. This keeps your neck in a neutral position.

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