Technology causes Computer Vision Syndrome in teenagers

August 12, 2015

For every single second, one blinks about five times. When looking at a screen one blinks about five times less than what is normal to keep one’s eyes moist and healthy.

As people get older, it is expected that their eyes will weaken. Some have been told by their mothers that they should not sit too close to the television screen because it will strain their eyes. But over the years, there has become no doubt that technology has become a part of everyday life for people of all ages. It is not rare to see even a toddler holding a glowing screen close to its face to watch videos or play games. At young ages people are unknowingly damaging their eyes.

Technology has transformed the way humans work. Some believe that the benefits of constant integration of technology far outweigh the damage it is doing. Yet, statistics may prove otherwise. The typical teen logs more than seven hours a day and more than 50 hours a week in front of a TV, computer, or cell phone screen, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Every one of those minutes in front of a screen is straining the eyes and creating damage for people of young ages. Discomfort, headaches, blurred vision and difficulty focusing are all common symptoms of eyestrain from looking at a screen.

In an article from CNN, ophthalmologist Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler noted that people usually blink around 18 times per minute, which refreshes the eyes naturally.

Wachler said, “Blink rates are reduced when staring at a computer screen or other devices, and this can make your eyes burn, dry out, turn red or feel itchy.

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) describes vision-related problems that result from prolonged use of screens. Symptoms from CVS are so common that studies have shown that between 50 and 90 percent of people who work in front of a computer screen have suffered from some type of eye-trouble.

At one time or another, all students are assigned some form of homework. Thus, for a typical teenager, it is not rare to be spending hours in front of a computer writing an essay, researching for a history project or writing a chemistry lab. Yet, students who use computers throughout the day at school can experience eye problems related to computer use, especially if the lighting and computer position are not ideal.

So what exactly causes eyestrain? The main reasons behind the dilemma are: screen contrast, poor lighting, flicker and glare, according to WebMD’s article on CVS. In order to prevent having the same eye troubles of an elderly person as a teenager, precaution must be taken. There are a few simple ways to relieve symptoms: Remove the glare, adjust your seat, give your eyes a break or fix computer settings.

As CVS is becoming more and more common due to humans’ increased hours of staring at screens, preventative measures are being taken to reduce the symptoms.

Contact lens companies have been attempting to fight against CVS through designing contact lenses to keep eyes moist when looking at a screen. Acuvue suggests that “choosing the right contact lenses” will help keep one’s eyes feeling more comfortable when one is using the computer. Eye therapy also has been reversing the effects of screen use such as struggle to focus vision.

Computer glasses are another option to relieve strain when looking at screens. The lenses in the glasses relax the amount of work eyes require to keep objects in focus at the distance of the computer screen.

Sociologists often blame technology and hours in front of a screen for creating an antisocial generation: teenagers with short attention-spans and bad social skills. Yet, optometrists can remind us that the damage technology is doing goes beyond a psychological matter. While it is unlikely that people will cut down on hours in front of screens, it is important to realize that use of technology is damaging eyes on a constant and habitual basis.

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