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Eyes haven't evolved to working in the 21st Century

The blue light from computer screens, tablets, smartphones are causing people to report eye health issues earlier.
Julian Julian Tue 14th Oct 2014 08:11

This is a blog post, slightly off the usual topic but nonetheless a very important one concerning eye health.

Now into my forties I have spent the past 25 years working in computer related industries and a few years ago I noticed that my eyes were becoming gritty and they felt sore all the time, causing me to feel tired when I actually physically wasn't.

Yes I've done all the wrong things; working late at night in front of computer screens and looking at screens in darkened rooms without taking screen breaks. I've never been a computer programmer but I would really wonder how those guys eyesight is faring into their middle age.

I thought it was time for glasses and went along to the optician who after a number of tests gave me a prescription and I received my first pair of spectacles a few weeks later. 

I put them on but noticed that objects were still blurred. I returned and had another eye test and the optician said I had a 'moving myopia'. In other words the film of liquid covering the eye ball had varying degrees of thickness which was causing the focal length to change over the surface of the eyeball.

When people are concentrating on looking at a screen their blinking rate is reduced by a third

This leads to a higher rate of tear evaporation which is one of the leading causes of dry eye syndrome. This can, eventually, lead to permanent eye damage.

The first thing I had to do was resolve this problem. I tried Vitamin A cream applied under the eye lid and after a few applications the problem faded and I felt like I had overcome the problem, I was thrilled that something had worked so well for me.

However, after a month the old problem returned. I went back to the optician and he recommended I try a very highly concentrated fish oil called Omega Eye that was only available online. The package arrived within a few days and I started taking three capsules a day.

Within one week the grittiness and tiredness had disappeared. I continued to use the capsules for three months and slowly began to reduce the dosage.

Today I no longer take them and my eyes seem to have remained stable. I plan to go back to the optician to finally get a prescription and order a pair of glasses for reading.

Another piece of advice that has really allowed me to spend longer looking at computer screens without feeling tired is wearing special computer glasses which have a yellow tint that filters out the blue light from computer screens. It really is quite amazing the amount of blue light that comes from the screen and until you wear glasses like this you can't really see it.

My Gunnar Computer Glasses.


 Looking through the glasses at a computer screen.

I am concerned about the massive adoption of technology by young people and the health effects that are linked to excessive use of smartphones, tablets and computers from eye problems to repetitive strain injury and poor body posture right through to rheumatism and disrupted sleep patterns.

There has been a 35 per cent increase in the number of people with advancing myopia (short sightedness) since the launch of smartphones in 1997, When you combine that with watching TV, computer work and tablet viewing the hours stack up quite dangerously.

Addendum: I have just come across a piece of software called Flux that I am trying out, it changes the colour temperature of your screen dependent upon the time of day.

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