Why does looking at a computer screen cause dry eye?

In today’s world, many of us spend a significant part of our day in front of screens, whether for work, entertainment or communication. While screens have revolutionized the way we live and work, they can also have a negative impact on our health. One common problem associated with screens is dry eye syndrome.

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Dry eye syndrome is a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears or tears evaporate too quickly, causing the eyes to become dry, itchy and irritated. There are many factors that can contribute to dry eye syndrome, but screens are a major culprit.

One reason screens can cause dry eyes is that we tend to blink less when looking at screens. Blinking is an important eye function that helps keep the surface of the eye moist and lubricated. When we blink, tears spread over the surface of the eye, keeping it moist and healthy. However, when looking at a screen, we tend to blink less, which can lead to dryness and irritation.

Another factor is that screens emit blue light, which can damage cells on the surface of the eye. Blue light has a shorter wavelength than other colors of light, which means it can penetrate deeper into the eye. This can cause oxidative damage to cells on the surface of the eye, leading to inflammation and dryness.

In addition, screens can cause us to strain our eyes, which can contribute to dry eye syndrome. When looking at a screen, we tend to focus intently on the content, which can cause us to squint and strain our eyes. This can lead to dryness and irritation, especially if we do this for long periods of time.

So what can we do to prevent dry eye syndrome when using a screen? There are a few things we can do. First, we should make a conscious effort to blink more often when looking at screens. This can help lubricate our eyes and keep them healthy. Second, we should take regular breaks from screens, especially if we are using them for long periods of time. This can give our eyes a chance to rest and recover. Finally, blue light blocking glasses or drops are also available that can help reduce the amount of blue light reaching our eyes and reduce the risk of damage.

In conclusion, screens can cause dry eye syndrome by reducing our blink rate, emitting blue light and causing us to strain our eyes. By taking steps to protect our eyes when using screens, we can reduce the risk of dry eye and keep our eyes healthy and comfortable.

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Assoc. Prof. Aylin Kılıç

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