LASIK and the Digital Age: How Screens Affect Our Eyesight

There are still unanswered questions and lots of debate surrounding digital screen time and the effects it may have on the quality and clarity of eyesight. Do screens cause refractive errors? Is the blue light that emits from screens responsible for damage to vision? LASIK is the most common surgical solution for correcting refractive errors that include myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Myopia, nearsightedness, affects 40% of the United States population and has a projected growth rate of 58% by the year 2050. With increased computer and smartphone screen exposure, it brings to question the link between LASIK and the digital age and how screens affect our eyesight. 

According to studies by the American Optometric Association, those who spend extended hours in working or reading on a computer screen or digital device are more likely to develop myopia, especially those whose eyes are still developing. It does not appear to be a coincidence that refractive errors are the most common cause of visual impairment and disability in children and adolescents worldwide. Even for those who attend in-person school, children are still clocking an astounding 5.5 hours per day of screen time. Studies show that teenagers spend up to 9 hours per day watching or using screens. Myopia is more than just a blurry inconvenience. The higher the degree of myopia, the greater the degree of risk for certain irreversible eye diseases such as macular disease and retinal detachment. 

While LASIK can correct myopia and other refractive errors, including if the cause comes from digital screens, those whose vision has been restored or improved by LASIK are still subject to exposure from blue light. Reducing digital device time to 2 hours a day or less if possible, maintaining an appropriate distance from the screen, adjusting screen brightness, enlarging text size and wearing specialized blue-light blocking glasses (non-prescription options are available) can help maintain healthy vision. You may find that after LASIK, your eyes are more prone to dry eye syndrome and will experience some of the effects of prolonged computer usage to cause eye strain, fatigue and headaches. When you use a computer, you blink less often than you should. Take breaks, use artificial tears and get adequate sleep to rest and nourish the eyes. 
If your vision has changed in any way, schedule an appointment with Great Plains Eye Specialists. Simple, painless testing can determine if you have refractive errors that need correction or any early stages of eye disease. Call 605-718-5123 for a date and time convenient for you. To learn more about the benefits of LASIK and to read about criteria for the procedure, visit WEBSITE.