In order to prevent ailments from using computers and other devices, it is important to keep some precautions in mind.
Advisor: Martha Luz Zuluaga Posada
Ophthalmologist, subspecialist in Cornea and Refractive Surgery
At school, at the office, at home. Electronic devices are part of everyday life and this makes it increasingly necessary to take care of our visual health in order to prevent illnesses. Ophthalmologist Marta Luz Zuluaga Posada states that there has been a decrease in voluntary blinking, that is, the one in which the person decides when to open or close their eyes, and an increase in the presence of dry eye. “When you use a computer, sometimes you stare with a fixed gaze without realizing it. What happens is that the eye stays open for a long time and the tears evaporate, thus drying the eye out. In the past, dry eye was a disease normally seen among the elderly. Now we see it even from childhood because unfortunately, parents often give their children phones for entertainment.”
She explains that, ideally, a child before the age of two will not have access to a phone or tablet, and if they watch television, it should be for a limited time, since there is a concerning trend around the world: an increase in cases of myopia because new generations spend a lot of time on screens rather than playing games, playing with friends or being outside. And not only are devices used for quiet time, but they are also used when walking or in their cars. In this regard, the specialist states that it is not appropriate to use your phone or read while in the car “you should be talking, listening to music, and looking out the window. Nothing else.”
When walking, you should concentrate on that, not only to keep from falling, but from an ophthalmological point of view, this can cause visual fatigue. “You are walking, so your eye has to follow the text in order to read, it is automatic, but you are going to get tired. And at the end of the day? Red or watery eyes. You vision starts to blur, and your parents do not understand why – it is because you are using your device excessively.”
Being focused on screens for so much time without the necessary precautions can also make certain diseases worse. When a person has allergies, for example, spending too much screen time will cause dry, itchy eyes and discomfort. She insists we explain the risks to our youth, as the effects of this will be felt more strongly in old age. Eyes were made to be used, but they must be taken care of appropriately, states the ophthalmologist. Below, she gives us ten practical tips to take care of our eyes:
- Watch your posture. Ideally, when you are working at a desk, your screen should not be higher than you, so that your eyes are not fully opened.
- If you have to work all day on the computer, do not forget to blink more consciously and more frequently.
- Take breaks. After a certain time, between 45 minutes and one hour, look away from the screen to focus on an object or person in the distance.
- At home and in other places where you use a computer, adjust the lights and exterior brightness so they are bright enough for what you need, but do not reflect off the screen.
- Do not read on a device while lying down or in the dark. Try to always have a light on, a night light or indirect light, so that your eyes do not have to work harder.
- Adjust the brightness of your device according to the lighting conditions and time of day. There are even applications that can control this.
- Even though eyedrops are freely available, the doctor recommends using preservative-free lubricating eye drops and consulting with a doctor if you do not notice any improvements.
- Have your eyes checked regularly, every year if possible, and have a complete eye exam to prevent major illnesses.
- In the consultation, you may be given a prescription for glasses with a formula and characteristics appropriate for your age and eye condition.
- For those who rely on dark glasses to look at their devices outdoors, it is important to purchase them from a reliable location and verify that they have a UV filter.