Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

eye health the digital dilemma

Smart phones, similar devices may cause eye problems

The bright screens and type size on iPods, Kindles and phones can cause eye problems that experts call computer vision syndrome.

DIRK SHADD | Times

The bright screens and type size on iPods, Kindles and phones can cause eye problems that experts call computer vision syndrome.

Let's talk about Kindles and iPads and other new, bright LCD screens: Are the millions of Americans who have bought these devices setting themselves up for headaches, eyestrain and other computer vision syndrome symptoms?

Smart phones and similar devices might cause vision concerns, says Dr. Roger Phelps, spokesman for VSP Vision Care.

According to recent research with VSP eye doctors, 33 percent reported that nearly one-third or more of their patients suffer from digital device-related vision problems.

The most common include eyestrain (82 percent), dry or irritated eyes (74 percent), fatigue (70 percent) and headaches (61 percent).

You say not many patients are aware of computer vision syndrome?

Two out of three eye doctors say fewer than 20 percent of their patients are aware of this syndrome.

What's the difference between using a desktop computer and a Kindle or even a smart phone as far as vision strain is concerned?

What happened in the past was you had regular eyeglasses for infinity — distance — and reading, about 16 inches.

Now there is a desktop computer screen, about 24 inches, that may require a separate pair of eyeglasses.

In addition, with a smart phone or the like, I can go to the website of, say, CNN, but it is really small. Some of these screens are best read at 12 inches — usually by a teen or someone under 40.

Oh, come on! Only young people can read these small screens?

We can prescribe eyeglasses to read these screens, but they still must be held at a 12-inch distance from the eyes.

So you are talking about eyeglasses for distance, 20 or 24 inches for desktop computers, 16 inches to read a book and 12 inches to read a smart phone screen?

We can prescribe progressive lenses.

What about using artificial tears products?

A lot of people get dry eyes as they get older. Sometimes they don't realize it's dry eye because their eyes are watering a lot. Actually, that can be a symptom as the eye tries to wash stuff away.

Check the brand you are using with your doctor.

Why are these eye problems becoming more common?

People are spending about six hours daily working at a computer then doing other computer-screen reading — such as on the Kindle — for pleasure. Computer vision syndrome is up there with carpal tunnel problems and other work-related concerns.

Jane Glenn Haas writes for the Orange County (Calif.) Register. E-mail her at jghaas@cox.net.

TRY THESE TIPS WHEN USING YOUR GIZMOS

To protect your eyes while using your iPads, Kindles and so on, here are a few tips:

Pay attention to environmental lighting. Reading on digital devices provides its own light but it can be difficult in a bright light or when outdoors. Adjusting the angle and turning up the screen brightness all the way with the auto-brightness off can help.

Don't forget to blink, breathe and break. Many doctors call this the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds and look at something 20 feet away.

Use computer vision glasses. Even if you have near-perfect vision, these glasses can ease eyestrain from prolonged use of a digital device.

Get your eyes checked. Have an annual exam and talk to your doctor about your digital usage — especially if you are experiencing symptoms that include headaches, backaches, dry eyes and so on.

Smart phones, similar devices may cause eye problems 03/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Orange County (Calif.) Register.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pitching on no rest backfires for Erasmo Ramirez, Rays

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — After battling through a 61/2-hour affair Sunday in Minnesota that was the second-longest game in franchise history, Rays officials were quick to decide that even though Erasmo Ramirez had just worked the 15th and final inning, they would stick with him to start Monday's game in Texas.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)