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Eye Strain In The Digital World

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EUGENE, Ore. — In today’s digital world, many people own a smartphone or tablet, or maybe both. But with newer devices coming on the market comes increased problems for our eyes.

Digital devices such as smartphones are designed to be held at a close range, and doctors say overuse of them is causing eye strain. Common symptoms are sore or irritated eyes, increased sensitivity to light, and difficulty focusing. A blue light that’s emitted from the electronics is the cause, especially in newer devices like the iPad and LED monitors.

“Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S., so there’s concern that use of these devices could exacerbate that or quicken the number of cases macular degeneration,” says Dr. Margaret Foley, an optometrist in Eugene.

Doctors say patients with eye strain related damage are getting younger and younger. They say that if they are not careful, it could lead to serious vision problems. Dr. Foley recommends limiting screen time to an hour per day for children. She says adults should give their eyes a break with the 20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes users are looking at a screen, they should look away for 20 seconds.

Foley also recommends getting yearly eye exams to make sure eye strain symptoms are not a sign of a more serious condition.

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