iStrain: the negative effect of digital devices

NBC24 18 November 2014
As Apple, Google, and Android unveil their latest lines of digital devices, doctors are worrying about what those devices could be doing to your health.

In Perrysburg, optometrist Dr. Michael Recker says more than ever he’s seeing patients suffering from eye problems linked to the over use of digital screens; what was commonly known as computer vision syndrome but now referred to as Digital Fatigue Syndrome.

Recker says the source of the strain is blue light. A high energy light emitted from digital screens, which according to experts, can penetrate and break down tissues and structures of the eye. That strain can eventually lead to macular degeneration or the loss of vision in the center of your visual field.

Recker says with each passing day he sees more and more patients with symptoms of digital fatigue syndrome. And he’s noticing degenerative effects in patients younger than ever before.

To help “slow down” the “break down” Recker says users can follow a few simple rules. The first of which is blinking, which Recker says is significantly reduced while staring at a screen. Blinking spreads much needed moisture and tears across the surface of the eye and can often help re-fresh them.

Recker also recommends patients follow the 20-20 rule, which means for every 20 minutes of screen time, look off screen for 20 seconds. It will give your eyes time to re-adjust and allowing them a quick rest.

But the best remedy Recker says is to just turn the screen off. The less screen time you have the better it is for your eyes. “We’re in a digital age now, so it’s important to do these couple of things and protect your eye health.”