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Monday 10 December 2018
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Four Eyes into the Future

It’s the 21st Century and the eyes have it. Or do they? With ever-increasing time spent in front of computer screens in variable forms from handheld to wall-mount to desktop, digitally-exposed eyes are often tired, dry, strained, and sleep-deprived (since good sleep benefits the delicate eye as much as the rest of the body). Is this nagging discomfort the compromise to make for jobs and lives in the digital age? Thankfully, it is not a necessary sacrifice.

Eyes need safeguarding for the continuing demands of the Digital Age, as they are just as much the tools of the future as computers. To provide this protection, two opponents must be faced, well, square in the eye — blue light and glare. Together, these two create the condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome, also known as Digital Eye Strain.

The Vision Council actually coined the terms Computer Vision Syndrome and Digital Eye Strain. This group of independent optometrists and ophthalmologists noted the condition after 57 percent of Baby Boomers, 63 percent of Generation X, and 70 percent of Millennials reported symptoms of eye strain or eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurry vision, insomnia or interrupted sleep, headache or eye ache, and neck or shoulder pain. Research discovered the symptoms were a reaction to the eye’s overexposure to blue light, also known as High Energy Light, that comes from computer screens and digital-device screens. Blue light, which is found very close to ultraviolet radiation in the light spectrum, has been scientifically-proven to suppress the body’s melatonin (which is important in regulating circadian rhythm, commonly known as the sleep-wake cycle).

In addition, the previous annoying symptoms were also shown to be a reaction to the glare from computer and digital screens, especially in glare’s negative effect on the eye’s ciliary muscle: reduced blinking. Less blinking leads to all the discomfort of dry eyes — itchiness, redness, tiredness, and pain. The American Optometric Association confirms the negative effects of glare and blue light, adding that continual exposure to blue light leads to gradual decline of the central retina, much like age-related macular degeneration.

In the midst of digital bombardment, eyes need a friend, and despite the obsolete nickname “four eyes”, glasses fit, only now they are computer glasses. Unlike most glasses, computer glasses only need be worn when viewing digital devices. Innovative companies have begun to produce computer glasses that combat Computer Vision Syndrome/Digital Eye Strain in the easiest way — pure prevention. For example, the company Felix Gray actually “bakes” a blue light filter solution into its lenses to counteract blue light without the color distortion of more commonly-known yellow lenses.

After baking, the lenses are coated with an anti-reflective that eliminates glare. Like a suit of armor, computer glasses protect and defend the eyes from the unseen onslaught of the digital age. Simply wearing a trendy pair of computer glasses resets the scene, eliminating an inconvenient compromise for digital eyes. Instead, those eyes literally sleep well, and awake to 20/20 foresight.