Warning from the expert: “Look at an object away for at least 20 seconds”

Complaints such as redness, stinging, burning, itching, dryness, watering, focusing problem, eye fatigue and headache that occur in the eyes following the use of phones, tablets and computers are defined as digital eyestrain. Pointing out that one cause of digital eye strain is focus fatigue, Ophthalmologist Dr. Erkan Bulut said: “To reduce the risk of straining your eyes by constantly focusing on the screen, look elsewhere from your computer at least every 20 minutes and look at an object far away for at least 20 seconds. Looking away relaxes the focus muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue.”

Warning from the expert: “Look at an object away for at least 20 seconds”

Speaking about what needs to be done to reduce the risk of digital eye strain or related complaints, Dr. Erkan Bulut, Ophthalmology Specialist from Istanbul Gelisim University, said: “Mechanisms that may cause fatigue should be determined and eliminated. The measures that can be taken here can be grouped as changing environmental factors and measures to be taken by the reader with eye care. The first factor that needs to be regulated from environmental factors is lighting. Bright lights, direct sunlight from the screen, and overhead fluorescent lamps often cause glare and eye discomfort. Studies have shown that eye fatigue is more common in people who use digital screens in a room that is too bright or dark, and that people who use darker screen colors have more complaints of dry eyes. The brightness of the screen should be similar to the ambient lighting and the contrast should be increased as much as possible to minimize eye strain and discomfort.”


Stating that it is important that the digital screens are approximately 90 cm from the eyes and that the center point of the screen is positioned approximately 15 cm below eye level, Bulut said: “The use of computers, tablets or mobile phones very close to the eyes causes an increased need for accommodation and causes the ciliary muscles to overwork. This leads to symptoms such as eye fatigue, temples and headaches. To reduce your risk of vision syndrome due to digital display use, take screen breaks (at least a 10-minute break every hour). Also, keep in mind that standing up, moving, doing physical movements during these breaks will reduce the tension and muscle fatigue in your body. It should not be forgotten that dirt and dust on the digital screen are factors that increase glare, and the importance of keeping all kinds of digital screens and eyeglass lenses clean should be kept in mind.”

Noting that an individual who normally blinks 12 to 16 times a minute will blink 6-8 times in front of the screen, Dr. Bulut said: “As a result, the use of digital screens also disrupts the frequency of blinking and the quality of vision. The use of screen filters both prevents the reduction in blinking and reduces reflection and glare. In addition to the dry eye screen filters, which may develop due to reduced blink frequency, the use of moisturizing eye drops is also recommended.”

Stating that care should be taken to have regular eye examinations every year, Dr. Bulut said: “It is important to check the glasses numbers of the employees correctly and to prescribe the appropriate glasses numbers for the patients in the presbyopic age group. It has been proven by some studies that special filters (blue filter) and anti-reflective coatings to be applied to glasses to be written on people who spend a long time in front of the screen are useful.”

Emphasizing that adequate water consumption is also very important, Dr. Bulut said: “The liquid taken from tea and coffee does not replace water. Eating a diet rich in omega-3 and essential fatty acids such as hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and fish increases the quality of tears. Eye dryness increases, especially in workplaces and shopping malls ventilated with air conditioning. Humidifiers can be used to prevent dryness in workplaces and homes. As I mentioned at the beginning, if we think that the use of digital screens is an important part of our life, we should be aware that deciding the time we will spend in front of these screens without forgetting to protect our eye health will increase our quality of life.”

Edited date: 02.03.2021
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