What is Computer Vision Syndrome?
In the second decade of the 21st century, much of our time is spent in front of one screen or another for almost all purposes: work, leisure, communication, research. Worldwide, people have been almost universally inundated with screen time for so long that it becomes second nature, and we are often unaware of some of the unsung problems that come along with the tendency to look at screens for sustained periods.
Screens from computers and smartphones emit intrusive light waves that can interfere with natural physical functions like our ability to sleep. These light waves are often commonly called blue light, much of which we are naturally exposed to during the day from sunlight. However, light from screens are not limited to daylight cycles like dawn and dusk. All too often, people watch tablets in their beds, or large LCD screens late at night, or have to work on a project on a computer screen into the wee hours of the morning, and while exposure to a nominal amount of blue light is natural – say in the day time – an excess can lead to a number of health problems.
Natural blue light during the day facilitates energy and wakefulness, and at dusk, when light wanes, the lack of light stimulation allows the brain to produce melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s circadian (sleep) cycle. However, the smartphone revolution means we are exposed to screen light 24 hours a day, and the human body is not naturally equipped for that sort of stimulation.
As described by Dr. Shadab Rahman, instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “The problem is that we’ve lost the natural contrast of night and day using artificial lighting. In fact, even if you dim the lights and avoid all devices at night, if you don’t go outside and get a good dose of natural light during the day, you could still have trouble sleeping.”
When our eyes are exposed to an excess of blue light, our circadian cycle becomes disrupted, and can lead to sleep disruptions or deprivation. As Toronto sleep consultant Amanda Jewson puts it, “Ever been to Vegas, look down at your watch and not believe for a second it’s 3 am because you feel 100 per cent? That’s blue light exposure at its best.” Lack of sleep due to blue light exposure has been linked to a number of detriments to health such as high blood pressure, decreased immune system function, lethargy, and mood disorders.
- Sit about 63 centimetres (arm’s length) from the computer screen. Position the screen so you are gazing slightly downward.
- Reduce screen glare by using a matte screen filter if needed.
- Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet (six metres) away for at least 20 seconds.
- When your eyes feel dry, use artificial tears to refresh them.
- Adjust room lighting and try increasing the screen contrast to reduce eye strain.
- If you wear contact lenses, give your eyes a break by wearing glasses.
In addition, unnatural overexposure to blue light can cause eye strain. The eye has a cornea and lens which is good at filtering light to varying degrees, depending on the intensity. Blue light has a high-intensity frequency, and the eye is not tailored to filtering out large amounts of it at a time, particularly for extended periods of the day. This can tend to cause damage to the light-sensitive cells of the eye, can compromise your ability to focus, and can cause squinting, dry eyes, straining, and headaches. These are symptoms commonly attributed to computer vision syndrome.
The effects of computer vision syndrome (CVS) have not gone unnoticed. In response to the extant problems of screen exposure, a wealth of knowledge and innovations have arisen to combat its effects. Some of these include computer reading glasses, and blue-light blocking glasses.
Why Do We Need Computer Glasses?
Since virtually all of our body’s healthy functions rely on sound and consistent sleep, the benefits of blue light glasses cannot be overstated. Computer glasses are glasses that are customized to reduce the effects of blue light on the eye (akin to reading glasses for computers). The use of eyewear dedicated toward reducing the harm brought on by screen exposure will help relieve the aforementioned circadian cycle problems, and will subsequently help relieve the further health problems associated with circadian cycle disruption.
How Do Computer Glasses Work?
Computer glasses are specially designed blue-light blocking glasses whose lenses are tinted to filter light while not obstructing your ability to see what you’re doing. The lens magnification of computer reading glasses is optimized for the intermediate zone of vision. This lies in between distance vision (such as when you are driving and need to see signs and markers in the distance), and near vision (such as when you’re reading or doing precision work). Computer screens and smartphone and tablet screens are generally positioned in the intermediate zone, approximately 20 to 26 inches from the user’s eyes.
The distinguishing feature of computer glasses over darker lens glasses (like sunglasses) is that it only targets filtering the blue light. Your ability to read is not affected, resulting in less eye strain, less headaches, and a reduced probability of disrupting your sleep patterns.
Reading Glasses Help Reduce Eye Strain
All the best reading glasses in the world have two functions: to allow for better vision, and to reduce eye strain. By optimizing the lens strength to an intermediate distance, computer reading glasses will help curb the tendency to lean in or squint against the glare of artificial light. In general, computer reading glasses have only about 60 per cent of the power of specialized reading glasses (which are designed for close distances), making them appropriate for where most people position their screens. Computer reading glasses are more likely to prevent you from having to adopt poor posture to allow better screen vision as well.
Best Computer Reading Glasses
All the best reading glasses for computers are available in different varieties to suit your fancy. They are available in an array of blue-light blocking glasses: stylish glasses, daylights glasses, magnetic reading glasses, and as progressive reading glasses. True Dark glasses offer day lights in various styles and sizes, suited for men, women, and children, available in popular stylish glasses varieties like aviator, Malibu, and fitover. True Dark glasses don’t filter out all blue light, however, since some blue light is still essential, but day lights glasses do filter out the majority of the junk blue light from screens.
It might be a given that our lives will always be filled with screens, but a pair of stylish daylights glasses like day walker magnetic reading glasses will optimize your vision, reduce headaches caused by squinting, improve your posture, and do wonders for your sleep; and when it comes to health, sleep is everything. You owe it to yourself to keep your connected life from keeping you from living a healthy life.