Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about ways to avoid eye strain.
In today’s digital world, the man on the street has not been spared from using one or all forms of digital gadgetry like a mobile phone, a tablet, laptop, a television, a smartphone, an MP3 player, gaming tablets and fablets. In fact, one can walk into any store, train, hospital, airport or restaurant and you will invariably find people staring at their mobile devices. No wonder the electronic industry is thriving!
On a recent trip to South Korea with my wife, we were on the MRT one day and were very amused to see how the young and old stared at their mobile devices as they traveled. Even for those who had no seats, they held the railings with one hand and a mobile device in the other. On top of that, no one spoke but everyone was keying away on those gadgets! There I was, holding my mobile device too and busily taking photos with no one paying any notice to what was happening (see adjacent pic). My wife watched in amusement as I became an unpaid paparazzi to these unsuspecting South Korean commuters.
Here in Malaysia, we are not spared from this digital ‘screen staring’ phenomenon either. It is no wonder that we now have a condition called ‘digital eye strain’ characterized by dry, red, irritated eyes, usually accompanied with headaches along with shoulder and/or neck pain. All of these, thanks to a rapidly progressing I.T. world where some smart phones have even been made waterproof, as if people would like to use their phones while taking a shower! Regardless of the kinds of gadgets we may use, one thing is for sure and that is we will not be able to avoid using them. Therefore, it would be in our best interest to use them correctly in order to avoid getting caught with ‘digital eye strain’ that may be caused by digital media from the way in which we hold such devices, the distance from our faces and how long we stare at them.
3 WAYS TO USE DIGITAL MEDIA WITHOUT STRAINING YOUR EYES
Take Blinking Breaks
Blinking is very important for the eyes as it spreads a tear film on the surface of the cornea and cleans it up like the wipers of a car windscreen. In one minute, a person would typically blink his eyes about 15 to 20 times. This blink rate reduces to half the number of times when we stare concentrating on such devices. This reduction results in the eyes getting red, tired and fatigued. In short, remember to take a break and blink!
The 20-20-20 rule is good to follow – every 20 minutes, look away 20 feet for 20 seconds allowing for the eyes to blink and relax.
Keep Screens Further Away
This minimizes the glare and contrast of an electronic screen to the eyes which eventually causes eye strain. The closer the device is held in front of the eyes, the more the eyes have to work.