Why Digital Natives Need to Protect Their Eyes

Why Digital Natives Need to Protect Their Eyes

Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. Surveys show that individuals from every age group dedicate more of their time to utilizing mobile applications, with an average usage time of approximately four hours per day. However, among the different generations, Generation Z, also known as “digital natives,” epitomizes this digital era. 

Digital natives have grown up with smartphones and the Internet as constant companions. It’s thus unsurprising that digital natives are the biggest consumers of video content and use about five different screens on average: a smartphone, tablet, laptop, TV, and desktop. This makes them the population with the highest screen usage.

However, with the proliferation of technology, concerns about its impact on our health, particularly eye health, have emerged. This makes proactive eye care especially crucial for this generation. Below, we take a closer look at the whys and hows of eye protection for digital natives. 

The dangers of prolonged screen exposure

Digital natives, being the most tech-savvy generation, are at the forefront of technology adoption. However, this unparalleled exposure to technology can also lead to novel risks. See the recent launch of the Apple Vision Pro as an example. Many digital natives bought the mixed-reality headset upon its long-awaited release. However, the product ended up being returned by a sizeable number of buyers due to concerns over users’ health, including headaches and discomfort, due to the faulty design and improper weight distribution. 

Such hazards, however, are just the tip of the iceberg. Digital eye strain (DES) has been increasingly recognized by health organizations to be the new epidemic of the digital age, with its prevalence among children reaching alarming levels of 50–60%. DES encompasses a spectrum of symptoms, including dryness, itching, and blurred vision, along with non-ocular manifestations like headaches and musculoskeletal issues. Moreover, its pathophysiology is linked to more severe vision problems, from presbyopia to myopia and slowness of focus change, all of which can significantly impact visual comfort and overall quality of life.

Tips for protecting eye health

Given the associated dangers with prolonged screen exposure, digital natives must prioritize proactive measures to protect their eyes. Starting with the tips below can help.

Limit screen usage 

It’s both impossible and impractical to avoid screens completely, given how crucial they are in the different ways we communicate, work, and play. However, digital natives can learn to prioritize quality time away from screens. Instead of spending hours watching videos on platforms like YouTube or scrolling through social media feeds, you can instead diversify leisure activities that provide much-needed relief to your eyes. Outdoor hobbies such as gardening or pastimes like visiting a park can especially help relax your eye muscles and alleviate eye strain by exposing you to natural light and letting you focus on objects at varying distances. 

Reduce blue light exposure

Digital screens emit blue light between 400-455nm. In excessive amounts, this light can contribute to eye fatigue and potentially harm your eyes. Given that the human eye is already consistently exposed to blue-violet light from the sun, it’s crucial for digital natives to reduce their exposure to screens. This can be done by purchasing a pair of blue light glasses from a reputable retailer. When designed carefully, this type of eyewear filters out harmful light while allowing blue-turquoise light, which is essential to biorhythm synchronization, to pass through. These come in prescription and non-prescription options, with special models like SightRelax from EyeBuyDirect designed to enhance reading — perfect for remote workers or near-sighted individuals. 

Stay hydrated

Humans blink approximately 15 times per minute. However, this rate drops to 5 to 7 blinks per minute when using digital devices. This can lead to dryness and discomfort due to inadequate tear production. Immediate solutions are to do blinking exercises, drink water regularly, and use hydrating eye drops while exposed to screens. Afterwards, you can also try using humidity goggles during your downtime. Previous research using Blephasteam goggles has been shown to improve dry eye symptoms by improving aqueous deficiency over the ocular surface and tear film stability. You can start by incorporating 5 to 10-minute sessions into your nightly routine or as otherwise directed by the manufacturer.

By implementing simple yet effective strategies to protect their eyes, digital natives can mitigate the risks associated with prolonged digital device use. For more on tech and lifestyle, check out our other articles on The Next Hint.

About the author

Ombir Sharma

Ombir is a SEO Executive at The Next Hint Media, Inc. He is a SEO and writer has 2 years of experience in these respective fields. He loves spending his time in doing research on different topics.

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