By Aspen Strauss
Have you ever been sitting at your desk working on your computer and notice that you get headaches often or your eyes begin to strain? Maybe your shoulders are aching or you have trouble sleeping at night. This may be a sign that you are suffering from digital eye strain.
DES is a direct result of spending too much time staring at a screen, the most common symptoms are headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, tension in the neck and upper back and sometimes your sleep schedule can get disrupted. These symptoms indicate that you might need to look into different ways to view your computer screen and practice new habits to protect your eyes.
The human eye is constructed of numerous parts such as the iris, pupil, cornea, and retina and works similarly to a camera. The pupil provides the f-stop, the iris the aperture stop, and the cornea resembles the lens. If one part of the eye and or “camera” stops working the images won’t come out clear and it can cause problems. If you stare at your bright computer screen for too long you have the potential to damage your retina irreversibility.
Because of the shutdowns of schools worldwide, students now are locked staring at their computer screams for multiple hours in the day. Not to mention looking at phone screens, TV screens, etc. Every electronic device has a screen that emits some sort of light. Whether being ultraviolet or UV light, all of these can cause issues for us. But the light that has caused the most problem that we’re able to see is blue light. Blue light is at the end of the visual light spectrum and contains more energy than warm colors such as red and orange, this light is also known as high energy visual light (HEV).
HEV light can be dangerous to your eyes, and in reality, our eyes weren’t designed to withstand the growing technology and digital lifestyle we all live today. Thankfully, there are tips and tricks to help protect your eyes.
So what is the best way to protect your eyes? Blue light glasses. They are glasses that claim to filter out the blue light. These glasses have filtering materials or surface coatings on the lenses that block out the portion of the blue light. Although some believe that these so-called “filtering glasses” that will cure headaches and eye strain is a hoax, Bryce Kerr a freshman at Ferris State University is a believer.
“I got blue light glasses because I got a concussion while having to manage two online classes back to back senior year of high school,” Kerr said. “I noticed my eyes would throb and give me headaches. They helped at the beginning and I didn’t notice much, but after a while, I noticed my headaches went away.”
Brooke Fausey, a freshman at Grand Rapids Community College, had seen the recent hype surrounding the glasses and decided to try them out for herself.
“I got blue lights because I recently had seen ads promoting them and I wanted to see if they actually worked,” Fausey said. “Although I haven’t had them for too long, my eyes feel less tired after looking at a screen for a long time. Although I could be psyching myself out… I would recommend trying them because it couldn’t hurt to see if they work for you.”
Because of the recent wave of interest in blue light glasses now, it may be harder to find the real deal when it comes to effectiveness. Freshman Cole Kaminiski at Calvin University disagrees.
“I really do think they work,” Kaminiski said. “They help me at least, even if they’re the placebos. I got them because I get migraines from looking at my screen and I need to look at my screen for class and while I play video games, so I had to find a solution that doesn’t involve me ditching screens.”
Mac Meeter, a junior at Southern Methodist University located in Dallas Texas, also agreed with Kaminski.
“I would recommend them overall,” Meeter said. “I think they do help with my eyes, and with going to sleep. They are moderately inexpensive, so I think even if it’s a placebo it’s a worthy investment. I was super into them for six months, but then saw a video that said they aren’t super effective, so I was skeptical. However, I actually see a difference when I wear them and when I don’t, especially if I’ve been on Zoom all day.”
I personally have also hopped on the train and found a pair of cheap blue light glasses from Amazon. I’ve found that my eyes don’t feel as tired and my headaches have decreased and after speaking to multiple students who have no choice but to look at a screen for multiple hours in the day, most everyone has agreed that, hoax or not, blue light glasses have helped in some way shape or form.
Although we are NOT doctors here at The Collegiate, I along with the students I interviewed, recommend that if you are feeling as if you get headaches often and or tired eyes from looking at a computer screen to look into buying blue light glasses. You can find cheap pairs on Amazon, or you can look into higher quality pairs of glasses at other stores online. And if glasses aren’t the best thing for you, make sure to check your computer settings so that your brightness isn’t on full blast or change your display settings to night shift to change the screen light to a warmer color to be gentle on your eyes. Make sure to take breaks from your screen often, and avoid working in a dark room. Keep your light around your work space as bright as your computer screen.