Modern Technology And Ocular Health

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In an age where technological advances in eye care have given rise to innovations such as laser technology to permanently correct vision, can other items of everyday technology actually be harmful to our eyesight?

Whilst evidence to date suggests there are no significant long-term effects on eye health, there are some short-term eye complaints that can be attributed in part to our growing reliance on computer screen technology.

A preventative eye health regimen

Referring to a professional optometrist like Eye Gallery, who understands the range of problems impacting present-day eye care, can accommodate the needs of the individual – considering factors such as age, lifestyle, and work situation.

That being said, a personal understanding and awareness of some key problems and remedies are equally important.

Working with computers and screen technology


The average adult blinks at a rate of 10 to 20 times per minute. This reflex action moistures the eye surface and carries away dust and foreign particles. Any activity that requires a closer “fixed” focus tends to cause the eye to blink less. This will occur when we are driving a vehicle and focusing attention on traffic or when we are watching a movie or television.

The same, of course, applies to computers, tablets, and mobile phones. When you consider that we are now statistically spending about 4 hours per day looking at a phone screen – not including work or leisure time spent at a computer or workstation – the potential impact on ocular health is significant.

When focusing on a computer or mobile phone screen, the eye’s blink rate drops by as much as 60 percent.

Dry eye syndrome

As a consequence of our dependence on computers and mobile phones, one of the main vision complaints is dry eyes.This typically presents as a mild irritation to extreme discomfort and can interfere with work and leisure time. Symptoms can include:

  • Redness to the cornea
  • A sensation of scratching or burning in the eye
  • Discomfort and irritation when blinking
  • Blurred or temporarily impaired vision

A good homeopathic remedy can be found in products that stimulate the body’s natural production of tears, as opposed to the artificial lubricant offered by many prescription products.

Eye fatigue and eye strain

A further consequence of concentrating on a screen at a close distance for prolonged periods is eye fatigue.  Paradoxically, as the eye tires, while maintaining this focus, the blink rate tends to reduce rather than increase. Symptoms of eye irritation consistent with dry eye syndrome described above can develop. These symptoms often tend to be more pronounced in the evening, after a long period of strain.

A range of plant-based homeopathic remedies, including Ruta, Belladonna, and Euphrasia, is available, which will not only promote natural tear production but will also counter specific symptoms of eye redness, irritation, and associated headaches.

Children and technology

With young people now growing up in a culture of increased dependence on screen-based technology for both leisure and learning, the question of potential long-term effects on their eyes is raised.

Studies indicate that excessive screen time has the potential for long-term effects on eye health, including the aggravation of myopia or near-sightedness.

Children tend to be more limited in their self-awareness compared to adults and may focus on a task for long periods of time. This is problematic with computer gaming and social media activity, which can potentially absorb the user for extended periods. Prolonged periods of activity involving close-up focus and the natural reduction in blinking rate mean that the eye is given limited rest.

Know the pitfalls and protect your eyes

Having a good awareness of the pitfalls of screen technology usage and eye health is a good starting point in your regimen. Developing good leisure and work habits in conjunction with a referral to a competent optician for routine check-ups will promote optimum long-term eye health.