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May 4, 2017

Healthy Living: Eyes and Technology

By now you know that technology is a mainstay in our lives. And while tech gadgets upgrade at pace that many of us can’t keep up with; we can appreciate how it has changed and simplified some aspects of our lives. But what is all that screen time doing to our eyes? That’s what we find out in tonight’s healthy living.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
Whether it’s checking emails for work or checking in on Facebook. We spend a lot of time in front of screens: from our computers, tablets, smart phones and even TV’s. And all that screen time is certainly going to affect your eyes. According to Veteran Ophthalmologist, Doctor Amin Hegar, research is still ongoing on the long term impact of all this screen time, but there are a few problems he frequently sees with his clients.

Amin Hegar

Dr. Amin Hegar, Ophthalmologist, Belize Vision Center

“I get a lot of complaints of eye strain, pain in the eye and not seeing good especially people working in offices, executives, people who come complaining about not seeing well, that their vision is blurry, that they have head ache, neck ache and feeling gritty, red eyes after being on the computer or the I-phone for more than two hours especially.”

 

Digital eye strain is the most common technology related ailment. One U.S. research of seven thousand people found almost seventy percent reportedly experienced digital eye strain. The longer we look at a screen, the more eye strain we would tend to have and this screen stare causes us to blink less leading to dry eyes which can cause redness and itching. Don’t forget the tension headaches that this extended screen time can cause. What can also compound this problem is when you’re already having vision problems that are not treated.

 

Dr. Amin Hegar

“You must check your eyes for your vision. You must make sure you have a 20/20 vision and depending on your age, if you’re over forty then you fall into the category of presbyopia. People of an older age needs different glasses to see at different ranges some need it at eighteen to twenty inches. Some need it at computer range, about arm’s reach. For them, we have the progressive invisible lenses which most people like nowadays and they don’t have to stretch their neck too much with the progressives which is very good.”

 

Hegar says the progressive lenses also help with the mid distance vision problems which some have attributed to screen time. Another pair of glasses on the market is tackling another emerging problem from our digital overexposure called the blue light effect.

 

Dr. Amin Hegar

“We have blue light everywhere. From the sun, its everywhere outdoors, it has a lot of blue light effect. It’s a high energy visible light.  That’s why the sky is blue. This affects our eyes. we don’t get much problem with the outdoor blue light because you are not too close to it but when you come in front of a computer screen that light is coming directly into your eye.  The eye cannot filter that blue light and it goes straight in to the retina. That retina can have damage. There are studies already that are saying that the retina can have macular degeneration at an early age. It can also affect the eye by causing cataract. So we must protect our eyes from that blue light which enters.”

 

Hegar is now offering the blue light protective glasses in Belize. But his primary advice, in addition to checking your eyes, he says we must remember to take a break when in front of a digital screen.

 

Dr. Amin Hegar

“As a rule we say 20/20/20. Every twenty minutes minimum or depends on the threshold for everyone, rest for a little while. Give your eye a little rest. Look away, twenty feet away, for twenty seconds. So 20/20/20. That helps a lot.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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