18 February 2019
Spending too much time on mobile devices could lead to various eye ailments. Photo: Reuters
Spending too much time on mobile devices could lead to various eye ailments. Photo: Reuters

Eye protection for mobile phone addicts

We see them everywhere: adults and kids looking at their smartphones or tablets all the time. In the long run, this overuse of mobile devices could lead to myopia, or near-sightedness, and may even result in computer vision syndrome.

Common symptoms include eyestrain, dryness of the eyes, blurred vision, headache, neck and shoulder pain, etc.

Insufficient lighting, screen glare, short viewing distance, poor posture and incorrect eyeglass prescriptions are likely to trigger these symptoms as well.

The frequency of blinking will be greatly reduced when you are focused too much on the computer. This habit could dry out and tire your eyes. It could even result in intermittent visual blurring.

For people who regularly use electronic gadgets or work long hours on computers, there are different kinds of lenses that they could consider using.

Blue light filter lenses: Studies show that long-term exposure to blue light may increase the risk of retinal degeneration.

Current electronic devices emit blue light, and blue light filter lenses can reduce the effect of blue light on your eyes.

Interestingly, some studies suggest that artificial light from computer screens and mobile phones actually produces less blue light than outdoor natural light.

But whether or not blue light filter lenses can help prevent vision degradation, it is more comfortable to wear them than working without them.

Anti-fatigue lenses: When you allow only a very short distance between your eyes and the mobile device you are using, the muscles of your eyes tighten to be able to focus. This in turn causes your eyes to get easily tired.

A slight prescription variation in the bottom part of the lenses can help reduce the adjustments that your eyes need to make and thus ease eye strain.

Progressive lenses for use when working on computers: As we age, the lenses of our eyes gradually lose their elasticity, resulting in presbyopia or long-sightedness. This makes it exhausting for us to work on a computer for an extended period of time.

There are progressive lenses for use when working on computers. The upper part of the lenses is adjusted for looking at computers while the lower part is for reading. After work, ordinary progressive lenses should be used again.

Such progressive lenses are important to reduce the risk of developing computer vision syndrome.

Here’s the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and focus on something at least 20 feet (6 meters) away to relax the eyes.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 1

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Registered optometrist in Part I of the register

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