Technomania – blight on the sight of those in 21st Century?
West Yorkshire optician Moin Valli has urged people to remember the importance of eye health after research found that three quarters of 16-34 year-olds in the county have exhibited ‘technomaniac’ tendencies and admit to looking at their smart phones or tablet devices before going to sleep.
Moin, managing director of the Valli Group of Opticians, said that ‘technomania’ – an obsession with technology – could put our eyes at risk.
He said: “As each new technological device that enters the market becomes the must have accessory, everyday lives are being spent moving from one gadget to another, putting constant stress and strain on the eyes.
“Any interaction with a digital device that requires sustained concentration will cause the inner eye muscles to tighten, prompting eye strain in some cases. As a result the eyes can become irritated, dry and uncomfortable. People may even suffer from blurred vision and headaches, both symptoms of short-sightedness.”
The study commissioned by Sight Care, the UK support network for independent opticians, has uncovered that 77 per cent of our waking day is spent looking at one form of screen or another processing data from emails, to news information to videos and games.
More than a third of people in West Yorkshire have confessed to checking their phone or tablet within 10 minutes of waking up, with women being seen as the worst repeat offenders. Female data addicts are reported to check their mobile phone within five minutes of opening their eyes.
The research also found that more than 79 per cent of people said their eyes were sore as a result of looking at a screen. However, despite this claim a quarter of people across the UK spend more than 13 hours during the waking day with their eyes fixed to a screen.
Moin added: “At Valli Opticians we are encouraging people to get their eyes examined on a regular basis to identify any potential problems and to get advice about how best to manage the use of hi-tech gadgets to ensure pro-longed eye health. You can also follow the tips below.”
- Have your eyes checked regularly – if you need a new prescription or your prescription changed, it will make using a computer a lot easier and will identify any potential problems. New anti-fatigue lenses are great for reducing eye strain.
- Ensure your screen is about an arm’s length away and positioned directly in front of you, not off to the side. The center of the monitor should be four to eight inches below the eyes.
- Sit up straight to reduce the strain on the back, neck, and shoulders.
- Use proper lighting – eye strain can be caused by too much or too little light, experiment to find what feels the most comfortable for your eyes
- Reducing glare will dramatically reduce the strain on your eyes. Install anti-glare filters on the monitor and change the screen’s contrast and brightness to reduce glare and reflections
- Clean the monitor regularly. Dust can decrease screen sharpness, making the eyes work harder.
- Blink frequently to prevent dry eyes, use lubricating eye drops, and make sure air vents aren’t blowing on the face.
- Take regular breaks – look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds.
- When you get home, avoid checking emails or looking at your phone for at least an hour.
The Valli Group owns eight optical businesses across Huddersfield and Calderdale. These are six independent Optical practices, which are Valli Opticians in Honley, Lockwood, Meltham and Mytholmroyd, S D Haigh Opticians in Almondbury and Mamtora Opticians in Hebden Bridge; Valli Home Eye Care which is a domiciliary business specialising in home visits and Valli Corporate Eye Care which speciailises in bespoke eye care packages for medium to large corporate firms.
You can find out more information about the Valli Group by visiting www.valliopticians.co.uk , following them on Twitter @ValliOpticians and liking their Facebook page Valli Group.