Envisioning your Vision

by Sofia Yohannes on March 28, 2014

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During college it seems like we are constantly on some kind of electronic device. Whether it be on our phones scrolling down our various social media time lines or taking notes in class on our laptops, students are constantly staring at a screen for extremely long periods of time. After coming to college, I’ve noticed an increase in time spent in front of my laptop and have wondered if this will have a significant effect on my eyesight. College is the time where students rely heavily on their laptops. Students are usually note taking on their laptops and during their downtime browsing the web, online shopping and binge watching Netflix.  All of these activities require our eyes to be glued to the screen for hours at a time. It is very seldom that you see a college student in class without a laptop or phone close by.

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Furthermore, I wonder how the heavy use of digital devices will effect all of our eyesight’s in the future, not only college students. Everyone from children to working adults rely on these devices so heavily for work and school now days. Even children have put down the traditional tangible toys such as legos and action figures and have picked up ipad’s and tablets. I have always been happy to announce that I have 20/20 vision but I wonder if this will still be the case after my college career. More importantly, I wonder what kind of impact electronic devices will have on all of our eyesight’s in the future as we continue to depend on them daily.

Growing up we can all recall our mothers yelling, “Don’t watch too much TV or your eyesight will go bad!” My parents always stressed that I shouldn’t be too close to the television and they would also have a time limit for how long I could watch. Imagine how many directions they would be screaming at us if they saw our electronic device usage today. Today, we have so many more sources of technology and extended use of them can contribute to the deterioration of our eyesight.  Electronic devices are becoming more prominent in our day-to-day lives as time progresses. Cell phones, televisions and laptops are some of the devices we all consider essential to our everyday functioning. And with newer versions and variations coming out so frequently we are all demanding the latest gadget. Also, as the popularity rises the demand for these products increases and the age that children are given these devices decreases. As these devices become more enhanced and easy accessible our love and desire to always be occupied by them becomes more apart of our daily schedules.

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With this constant staring at a digital screen comes negative effects, one of them being digital eyestrain. In addition to computer screens, smart phones, television and video games, other causes of eyestrain are reading, writing and driving. All of these activities require strenuous use of the eye and when done in extended periods can lead to extreme fatigue. We spend about 7 hours of our day staring at these devices, which is enough to cause eyesight damage in the long run. So now imagine each individual: college student, adult behind a computer screen 9-5 for work, and a child playing games on an iPad. Next, think about all the hours spend behind a screen without any breaks. This cycle continues and as we go about our daily lives with these electronic devices in hand.

Some of the symptoms of eye fatigue and eyestrain include itching, burning, blurred vision, increased sensitivity to light, difficulty focusing and dry or watery eyes. These symptoms can lead to greater issues and also decrease your daily productivity. Having impaired eyesight can lead to larger life problems. Tasks that were easily done before, you might have trouble completing if your eyesight has been impaired due to digital eyestrain. The most alarming thing about this is that it may happen gradually and may be unnoticeable at first or brushed off.

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For these very reasons we need to start taking the necessary precautions to ensure these devices do not heavily affect our eyesight. We can start with the obvious, which is cutting down the time that we use electronic devices. It is nice to have them, but we don’t always have to be looking down at our phones for entertainment. Another thing we can do is adjusting the brightness levels on our screens.  Lastly, we can fit in break times so we are not continually staring at our screens for hours at a time.


















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