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5 Tips for Keeping Your Eyes Safe from Blue Light and Computer Vision Syndrome

Blue light bombards your eyes from all directions, and even more so nowadays when the COVID-19 pandemic has kept many people plugged in to a digital device, constantly. So what’s the problem with the blue light?

Eye doctors worldwide warn of the damaging effects to eye health from overexposure to blue light. A variety of uncomfortable visual symptoms can be caused, such as eye strain, irritation, difficulty focusing and headaches. These symptoms are characteristic of computer vision syndrome, which our Washington, D.C. optometrist now diagnoses regularly in patients of all ages.

How Can You Protect Your Peepers from Computer Vision Syndrome?

The #1 way to keep your vision safe is by decreasing your exposure to blue light. Here’s a list from our optometrist of different ways you can accomplish this:

  1. Limit screen time and take frequent breaks to relax your eyes.
  2. Use blue light filters on your computer screen and the screens of all digital devices. These screen filters are available for tablets, smart phones, computers and basically every gadget with a screen. They work by reducing the amount of blue light emitted from your device so less radiation reaches your retina, thereby decreasing the amount of eye damage that can occur. Check with our Washington, D.C. eye care center to find the right blue light filter for your needs.
  3. Wear computer glasses with tinted lenses to block blue light and increase visual contrast, relieving the tiring symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
  4. Fit your glasses with lenses that have an anti-reflective coating to diminish glare
  5. Consult our optometrist in Washington, D.C. to learn about other options to help protect your eyes and your children’s eyes from the hazards of computer vision syndrome.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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COVID-19: Protect Your Eyes From Too Much Screen Time

You and your children are likely spending more time on mobile devices and computer screens than ever before. Too much time spent staring at screens can cause computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain, in certain people. While not serious, this condition can be very uncomfortable, potentially causing:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness

Below are some useful tips to help you and your children avoid computer vision syndrome:

Protect your eyes!

High energy blue light can contribute to eyestrain, eye fatigue, fluctuating vision, headaches and dryness. Blue light blocking glasses are a great option to protect the eyes from these harmful effects. We at Washington Eye Doctors have been providing our patients with Lutina, a clear high quality blue blocking lens, for the past three years. Lutina is available both without prescription (Eyerelax) and as an added feature for prescription eyewear.

Blink more!

Staring at a screen strains the eyes more than reading printed material because people tend to blink 30-50% less. This can also cause your eyes to dry out. Be mindful of blinking and make it a habit when focusing on a screen, as it will keep your eyes healthy and lubricated.

Follow the 20-20-20 Rule

Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object located 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Doing so will allow your eyes to relax and will give both you and your eyes some rest.

Keep your distance

Your eyes work harder to see close up than at a distance. Try keeping your monitor or screen at arm’s length, or about 25 inches away.

Lighting matters

Make sure that your surrounding light is similar in strength to the light emanating from your screen. Contrasting levels of light, such as looking at a bright screen in a dark room, can strain the eyes.

Take breaks from the screen

You may want to stipulate ‘screen free’ time for yourself and/or your children, such as during meal times or for several hours throughout the day. Engage in hobbies that don’t require a screen, such as drawing, reading books, doing puzzles, playing an instrument or cooking (among many others).

Don’t use devices before bed

Studies show that blue light may affect your body’s circadian rhythm, also known as the natural wake and sleep cycle. Stop using screens one to two hours before bedtime or use nighttime settings to minimize blue light exposure.

Although it may require a bit of planning to protect your family’s eyes during this stressful time, ultimately, it’s all about balance — and what works for you and your family may differ from others. Please call 202-331-7566 or email office@washingtoneyedoctors.com to discuss products with Lutina.

From all of us at Washington Eye Doctors at Washington, D.C., we wish you good health and please stay safe.

Is School Work Causing Computer Vision Syndrome in Your Child?

Eye health tips for students from our Washington, D.C. eye doctor

The start of fall means back-to-school for kids of all ages – and our team at Washington Eye Doctors wishes everyone a smooth and successful return to the classroom!

When your child enters school after a summer of outdoor fun, many of the summer’s vision hazards are left behind. Yet, that doesn’t mean all eye health risks are eliminated! Nowadays, the majority of learning is computer based – exposing students’ eyes to the pain and dangers of blue light and computer vision syndrome. Fortunately, a variety of helpful devices and smartphone apps are available to block blue light and keep your child’s vision safe and comfortable.

To help you safeguard your child’s vision for the upcoming semesters and the long term of life, our Washington, D.C. optometrist explains all about computer vision syndrome and how to prevent it.

Symptoms of computer vision syndrome

It’s smart to familiarize yourself with the signs of computer vision syndrome. If your child complains about any of these common symptoms, you can help prevent any lasting vision damage by booking an eye exam with our Washington, D.C. eye doctor near you:

  • Eye irritation and redness
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes, due to reduced blinking
  • Headaches

Basics of blue light

Students spend endless hours in front of digital screens, be it a computer monitor, tablet, or smartphone. There is homework to be done, research to be conducted, texting with friends, and movies and gaming during downtime. All of this screen time exposes your child’s eyes to blue light.

Many research studies have demonstrated that flickering blue light – the shortest, highest-energy wavelength of visible light – can lead to tired eyes, headaches, and blurry vision. Additionally, blue light can disrupt the sleep/wake cycle, causing sleep deprivation and all the physical and mental health problems associated with it. As for your child’s future eye health, blue light may also be linked to the later development of macular degeneration and retinal damage.

How to avoid computer vision syndrome

Our Washington, D.C. eye doctor shares the following ways to block blue light and protect against computer vision syndrome:

  • Computer glasses, eyeglasses lenses treated with a blue-light blocking coating, and contact lenses with built-in blue light protection are all effective ways to optimize visual comfort when working in front of a screen. These optics reduce eye strain and prevent hazardous blue-light radiation from entering the eyes.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule; pause every 20 minutes to gaze at an object that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This simple behavior gives eyes a chance to rest from the intensity of the computer or smartphone screen, preventing eye fatigue.
  • Prescription glasses can be helpful when using a computer for long periods – even for students who don’t generally need prescription eyewear. A weak prescription can take the stress off of your child’s eyes, decreasing fatigue and increasing their ability to concentrate. Our Washington, D.C. optometrist will perform a personalized eye exam to determine the most suitable prescription.
  • Moisturize vision with eye drops. One of the most common symptoms of computer vision syndrome is dry eyes, namely because people forget to blink frequently enough. Equip your child with a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears eye drops (available over the counter) and remind them to blink!
  • Blue light filters can be installed on a computer, smartphone, and all digital screens to minimize exposure to blue. A range of helpful free apps are also available for download.
  • Limit screen time for your child each day, or encourage breaks at least once an hour. Typically, the degree of discomfort from computer vision syndrome is in direct proportion with the amount of time your child spends viewing digital screens.
  • Set the proper screen distance. Younger children (elementary school) should view their computer at a half-arm’s length away from their eyes, just below eye level. Kids in middle school and high school should sit about 20 – 28 inches from the screen, with the top of the screen at eye level.

For additional info, book a consultation and eye exam at Washington Eye Doctors

When you and your child meet with our Washington, D.C. eye doctor, we’ll ask questions about your child’s school and study habits to provide customized recommendations on the most effective ways to stay safe from computer vision syndrome and blue light. Our optometrist stays up-to-date with the latest optic technologies and methods to prevent painful vision and eye health damage from using a computer, so you can depend on us for contemporary, progressive treatment.

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