The old saying goes that watching too much TV will make your eyes go square. Nowadays, we seem to spend most of our time looking at screens: be it a computer screen at work, a mobile phone screen to make a call or a TV screen to relax. But how bad is looking at screens for our eyes? Is there really any truth behind the old saying?
According to Dr Blakeney, an optometric adviser to the College of Optometrists, computers will not permanently damage the eyes; however, they can cause strain or exacerbate existing eye conditions.
What problems do looking at computer screens cause?
People who look at computers frequently, (in particular those that look at a computer for more than three hours a day), may experience symptoms such as:
- Eye discomfort
- Itchy eyes
- Dry or watering eyes
- Burning sensations
- Changes in color perception
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty focussing
Eyestrain is a type of repetitive strain injury (RSI) that is caused by insufficient rest periods, incorrect working conditions and so forth.
There are many causes of eyestrain. One of these is glare.
There are two types of glare, direct and indirect. Direct glare is where light shines directly in your eyes; whereas indirect glare is caused by light reflecting off surfaces into your eyes.
Glare often results from computer screens being too dark or too bright.
Glare leads to eye muscle fatigue, for the eyes have to struggle to make out the images on the screen.
Another major cause of eyestrain is the position of the computer screen.
Naturally, the eyes are positioned so that they look straight ahead and slightly down.
If the eyes have to look in a different direction, the muscles have to continually work to hold this position.
Thus, if your computer monitor is positioned incorrectly, the eye muscles must constantly work to hold the eyes in the correct position to view the monitor.
In order to prevent the eyes becoming strained in this way, the top of your computer screen should be no higher than eye level.