Dr. Stewart Shofner Shares 5 Tips to Prevent Eyestrain While Using Smartphones and Other Electronic Devices
New mobile technologies keep millions of Americans connected these days by clicking, calling, texting, reading, watching, and posting, all from a small handheld device. Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center agrees that almost everyone is exposed. Kids these days are using handheld computer devices as early as 4 years of age. Both children and adults start and end their day checking emails, text messages, then also spend long hours behind a computer, laptop or tablet at work or school. New studies prove consistent use of these technological gadgets cause serious eyestrain symptoms like migraine headaches, dry eyes, eye discomfort, neck pain, wrinkles and much more!
A recent study reported that the number of people in the U.S. with nearsightedness(myopia) has increased an alarming 66% in the last 40 years. And while myopia or other vision problems haven't been officially linked to the use of technological devices, the facts remain that most people suffer from an increasing amount of eyestrain symptoms that could be prevented.
Common Eyestrain Symptoms
- eye pain
- eyes feel tired / eye fatigue
- blurred vision
- trouble focusing
- slow blink rate
- dry/red eyes
- watery eyes/ excessive tear production
- fine lines/wrinkles around the eyes
- neck/back pain
- squinting aka "smartphone squint"
Many doctors believe the "smartphone squint" can lead to eyestrain and dry eyes, as well as fine lines and wrinkles. "We see so many people with dry eyes and other eye issues because using smartphones and computers substantially reduces the number of times you blink. And blinking is very good for your eyes." - says Dr. Shofner. Dr. Shofner reveals "Many of my older patients complain about trying to read small font or a small screen." Dr. Shofner recommends practicing these five important tips to prevent or reduce irritating eyestrain symptoms.
1) Increase Size. Increasing the font size or enlarging the screen size of a device will make it easier to read.
2) Position. Hold devices further away, this will also help eyes improve focus. Many are guilty of holding a handheld device much closer than recommended. A computer screen should be held 20" to 28" away from the eyes. Also, align the top of the computer screen at eye level.
3) Break Away. Take several eye breaks. Continuous computer use can be counterproductive if eyestrain occurs. Make sure young children who are prone to using mobile devices take breaks, also. Breaks are recommended every 20 minutes; look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. And remember to keep blinking to prevent dry, irritated eyes.
4) Lighting. Make sure that the screen on any computer and hand held device is bright enough so that you can see without squinting but not too bright that it hurts your eyes. Adjust screen lighting within the device.
5) Eye Exam. For those that suffer from severe eyestrain, a visit to local eye doctor for a quick eye exam is recommended. Eyeglasses with a single or bifocal lens, or tinted lens material, may help increase contrast perception and filter out glare and reflective light to reduce eyestrain symptoms.
Practicing these informative tips will allow continued use of these amazing technological gadgets with reduced eyestrain issues along with maintaining good vision health. Lack of sleep, stress, and incorrect contact lens use or incorrect eyeglass prescription may intensify eyestrain symptoms. Ongoing pain in the eye, visual loss, redness, discharge from the eye or irritation of the eyes should be examined by a physician. "Patients should inform an eye care professional of any handheld device or computer usage," advises Dr. Shofner. "Some patients may need to be treated for asthenopia. I also suspect that bright lights and glare may be responsible for an increased awareness of cataracts at earlier ages," says Dr. Shofner.
About Shofner Vision Center
Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center, Nashville, TN is a comprehensive eye care specialist board certified in ophthalmology. For over twenty years, Dr. Shofner has specialized in Lasik/PRK and Cataract Vision Correction Surgery. Dr. Shofner has performed over 30,000 Lasik/PRK surgeries and over 10,000 ocular surgeries on Middle Tennessee eyes. Shofner Vision Center's website offers viewing options to increase or decrease the font size for patients that have trouble focusing or experiencing other vision issues. Dr. Shofner recommends anyone experiencing severe eyestrain or vision impairment should contact their local ophthalmologist or contact Shofner Vision Center for a comprehensive eye exam.
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