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Is Computer Use Harmful to Eyes?

The use of computer has become an unavoidable part of our daily life. However, electronic device is a double-edged sword-it can be amazingly convenient, but it gives rise to unfavourable consequences to our eyes. The most common ocular problems are eyestrain, redness, dryness, and a feeling of burning or stinging in the eyes. Among all computer users, people with accommodative insufficiency, pseudomyopia, and those with uncorrected refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia) are more susceptible to those problems.

According to a study conducted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University regarding the relationship between reading and blinking frequency, people tend to blink less while reading. Prolonged reading may cause fatigue of eyes more easily. In fact, the impact of prolonged computer use is similar to reading. Decreased blinking frequency is one of the culprits of dryness and stinging feeling of eyes. And contact lens wearers are more prone to having these symptoms. Apart from trying to blink more, another solution, according to a different study carried out by the School of Optometry, is to adjust the position of the computer monitor lower, allowing the eyes to look down slightly, which can reduce the area of contact of the eyeball and the air, and hence alleviate the symptoms of dryness. Contact lens wearers can also use artificial tears to relieve the discomfort of eyes.

Another problem triggered by prolonged computer use is colour vision disorder, which is the confusion in colour sensation. The most common example is being unable to differentiate blue and yellow, or green and red. The smaller the text, the more difficult it is to distinguish the colour. The symptom could last for few minutes to few hours. The ways to prevent colour vision disorder include using black text on white, avoiding text and pictures with too much colour. Moreover, high monitor brightness, rapidly changing images on screen, and frequently flickering light could induce photosensitive epilepsy. Although the chance of having photosensitive epilepsy is very low, people suffering from this problem experience adverse symptoms, such as severe headache, nausea, and having a paled face. People should seek immediate medical care when having the above symptoms.


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