This year’s World Sight Day is celebrated on Thursday, October 13th. It is a worldwide event that happens once a year to bring attention to blindness and vision loss. Here, we talk about how spending more time in front of a screen affects our eyes and other related topics.
We spend a lot of time looking at our phones, but can phone screens harm our eyes? India is one of the top three countries with the highest number of smartphone users and one where more than 10 million people suffer from retinal diseases. Excessive use of electronic devices like smartphones, computers, and laptops is one of the main reasons behind the increasing burden of eye diseases in India.
The most important tip for good retinal health is to have regular eye check-ups with an optometrist or ophthalmologist. It can help prevent diseases or detect conditions in early stages to help control the disease in time with the right treatment and prevent sight loss. Diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy (DR) can cause serious vision loss or damage if they are not treated correctly and in time.
According to Dr. Ajay Dudani, CEO of Mumbai Retina Center and a vitreoretinal surgeon, 60% of people over 60 have cataracts of some kind, which are age-related and cause a progressive loss of eyesight. 40% of these individuals had more serious vision impairments. Even if a person has cataracts that have been getting worse for a long time, they can still have surgery to get their full vision back.
On the other hand, if retinal and glaucoma illnesses aren’t treated, they could cause permanent damage, like blindness. For instance, diabetic retinopathy has to be treated quickly and properly. This risk rises as more years are spent living with diabetes, reaching a 90% chance of eye illness for people who have had the condition for more than 20 years. A further 15-20% of my patients have glaucoma, which may damage the optic nerve and advance quickly if individuals don’t have regular checks.
But to make the process of choosing easier, we are trying to get more people to know about and use technological solutions. In addition to regular monitoring, there are many cutting-edge ways to treat the disease, such as eye drops, new drugs, lasers, or even surgery. To promote good eye care, people need to know about these treatment options for glaucoma and other eye diseases and be willing to use them.
Eye-related problems due to excessive screen time
Looking at the screen for long hours prevents us from blinking as often as we should. This lets the tear film, which protects the surface of the eye, dry out and irritate the eyes.
Asthenopia, eye strain, or eye strain, is a condition in which the eyes are tired from heavy use. It’s a common effect of looking at a computer or smartphone screen for long periods and can go away with rest.
AMD affects central vision and is quite common in older people. Since a lot of blue light from the screen is bad for the retina, it can cause AMD to start early and lead to vision loss. But if you find AMD early, you can get effective treatment for it and avoid vision loss, which could have been avoided.
Nearsightedness or myopia is a condition in which distant objects are hard to see or appear blurry, while near objects are clear. Staying indoors and looking at the screen for prolonged periods causes your eyes to focus only on objects less than an arm’s length away, making you vulnerable to nearsightedness.
Dry eyes, difficulty focusing, and other eye-related problems from excessive screen time are a result of the load being put on the eye muscles.
Here are some ways to keep your eyes in check:
- Blinking and using moisturizing eye drops can prevent dry eyes
- Adjust overhead lighting to minimize screen glare and stay at least an arm’s length away from computer screens
- Increase screen content size to reduce stress and emphasize taking breaks every 30-40 minutes
This year, on October 13, World Sight Day is celebrated, and its objective is to raise awareness and encourage people to focus their attention on the importance of eye health. Taking the proper preventive measures, regular eye checkups, and prompt treatment can help. Don’t forget to take note of your screen time and also maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to keep your eyes and body healthy.