We encourage seniors to use technology for communications, information, entertainment, and health.
They are doing so in growing numbers and reaping real benefits.
Of course, there are costs associated with those benefits beyond those related to the digital devices themselves.
The more seniors use their technology devices, the more time their eyes will be exercised looking at the screen for extended time periods.
Because many seniors already have impaired vision, straining at screens – including computers, tablets, smartphones, game systems and even smart TVs – can worsen vision.
Staring at a TV, computer, smartphone or tablet can cause a problem known as computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain. It is not uncommon and can be treated.
Symptoms of Eye Strain
The American Optometric Association says to watch for these warning signs:
- Feeling that your eyes are strained
- Developing headaches
- Having blurred vision
- Developing dry eyes
- Having pain in your shoulders and neck
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Difficulty concentrating
Help for Digital Eye Strain
There are some things your senior can do to alleviate digital eye strain.
If the symptoms don’t improve, see your eye doctor to evaluate other, possibly serious, problems that need to be corrected.
- Place screens 20-26 inches away and slightly down from the field of vision
- Keep screens clean, as smudges can blur vision
- Use an anti-glare screen
- Sit in an adjustable chair and under adequate lighting
- Take a break from looking at the screen every 20 minutes
- Use artificial tears or a warm, moist wash cloth to wet dry eyes
- Keep any eyeglass or contact prescription up to date or try special computer glasses
Using technology is important to our senior loved oned, but so is maintaining proper vision, therefore putting some of these practices into place will help achieve both goals.
Here are some more articles about vision and protecting it as we age that caregivers might find helpful.