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The Impact of Digital Device Use on Dry Eye Symptoms

It is more crucial than ever for optometrists to be aware of the risk of dry eye disease in the modern digital age. That is particularly so with the excessive use of electronic devices. Technology is becoming more prevalent in adults' and kids' daily lives. So, optometrists must proactively spot and treat their patients' dry eye symptoms. 


The good news is that they already have the supplies they need in their offices to examine patients for dry eye disease. The era when computer use was only allowed during work hours is long gone. Today's technology permeates nearly every aspect of daily life, from the classroom to the home. 


Dry Eye in the Digital Age


The rise in electronic device use is triggering increased health problems. That is especially true among students and younger age groups. The increase in dry eye disease linked to technology is the optometrists' top priority. Optometrists can help prevent and treat this expanding issue with the proper approach. That will ensure their patients' eyes and vision remain comfortable and healthy.


Here are several ways in which digital device use can impact dry eye symptoms:


Reduced Tear Production


Long-term use of a digital screen can decrease tear production, causing dry eye symptoms. Dry eyes can result from the blue light that screens emit because it interferes with the natural production of tears.


Reduced Blink Rate 


The most notable way digital devices can affect dry eye symptoms is by slowing down blinking. People tend to blink less when staring at a digital device. That can lead to the eyes drying out and becoming irritated.


Diminished Lipid Layer


The tear film's lipid layer is in charge of preserving the stability of the tear film and preventing evaporation. Long-term screen use can lower the lipid layer, causing the tear film to evaporate and exacerbating dry eye symptoms. 




Prolonged digital screen use can exacerbate eye inflammation and dry eye symptoms. Inflammation can result in the production of thick, sticky mucus and the development of red, swollen, itchy eyes. 


Meibomian Gland Dysfunction 


Evaporative dry eye can result from malfunctioning meibomian glands in the eyelids, which create the lipid layer of the tear film. Prolonged screen use can make these glands less effective, causing symptoms of dry eyes. 


Focus and Vision Problems


Digital screen use can cause vision and focus issues, exacerbating dry eye symptoms. The inability of your eyes to maintain focus on the screen may also cause fatigue and discomfort.


Poor Lighting Conditions


Dry eye symptoms can result from poor lighting conditions, such as glare or dim lighting. These issues can make the eyes work harder, resulting in fatigue and discomfort.


Increased Glare

The increased glare from digital screens can aggravate dry eye symptoms. Glare can strain your eyes, making you feel tired and uncomfortable.


Digital screens can worsen dry eye symptoms in multiple ways. It is critical to understand these risk factors and take precautions to lower them. You can do so by taking regular breaks, adjusting screen settings, and consulting an eye care professional if symptoms persist.


For more on dry eye syndrome, call Advanced Eyecare Consultants at our Lake Zurich 847-438-7700 or Libertyville 847-994-4500, Illinois office.

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