Effects on The Visual Apparatus of Commonly Used Visual Devices: Computers, Tablets and Smartphones

The massive spread of smartphones and computers that has characterized the last few years has generated a whole series of new visual problems related to the use and abuse of bright screens.

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What are the problems that can arise on the visual apparatus from excessive exposure to the screens of technological devices?

The massive spread of smartphones and computers that has characterized the last few years has generated a whole series of new visual problems related to the use and abuse of bright screens.

To the eight hours that many spend in front of the PC at work, there are at least two or three more spent looking at the mobile phone to see the latest updates on the social networks of friends, a YouTube video, and so on.

All this can lead to “Computer Vision Syndrome” (CVS), a very common condition that with varying intensity affects between 70% and 90% of people who spend a lot of time in front of a screen, often unaware to suffer from it.

What are the symptoms of “computer vision syndrome”?

The symptoms of CVS are varied and are visual, neurological, and musculoskeletal. They don’t necessarily come together and they vary a lot from person to person, depending on habits and the way you are in front of your computer, television, or how you use smartphones and tablets.

Usually, after a few hours in front of the screen, you feel burning eyes, eyestrain, and headache, and neck pain due to the position of the head to stare at the monitor.

CVS is usually transient and its symptoms subside with a few hours of rest, spent at a safe distance from the screens.
Moreover, the screens of smartphones and high-definition tablets, available only for a few years, invite an even closer vision, with the potential consequence of exacerbating the visual problem.

In CVS, the most frequent symptoms affecting the eyes are double or blurred vision, burning, itching, redness of the eyeball, and dryness.
They usually occur after two or three hours of work and in many cases affect the performance of those who suffer from it, with a drop in concentration combined with feelings of anxiety and discomfort.

In addition to a predisposition, if for example, you have particular vision defects, there can be many causes for these symptoms.

What role does light play in our biological rhythm?

Light not only helps us see, but it is also an important means of regulating biological rhythms and affects our general well-being.
Whether or not we feel awake, focused, and productive, and being full of energy and health, also depend on light.
Scientific studies have confirmed the biological effect of light on our body. Ultraviolet light, for example, affects the production of vitamins. Exposure to bright light, and in particular to the blue light portion, affects our hormonal balance. Hormones in the body regulate how people feel as well as the sleep-wake cycle. The portion of blue light in daylight is relatively high, while it is significantly reduced in the evening.

In conditions of strong external light, the body secretes serotonin – also known to be one of the “happiness hormones” – and cortical, a stress hormone. Both make us feel awake and active.
Melatonin on the other hand is considered the sleep hormone and makes us feel tired and sleep soundly when it is dark.

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What role does light play in our psychological well-being?

Light, and especially the blue light that reaches the retina, also affects our psychological well-being. For this reason, phototherapy is successfully used to treat winter blues and insomnia. But, as often happens, also in this case the axiom “everything in moderation” applies. Excessive exposure to light also carries certain risks and can even be harmful.

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