With the almost indispensable use of digital screens from age 7 to 70, and even increasing usage in those under 7, health problems related to the use of such screens have begun to rise.

According to experts; numbness in the fingers can lead to long-term issues like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, from neck and back pain muscle and joint problems will arise.

However, individuals who heavily use digital screens in their daily lives often complain most about eye-related issues. Therefore, problems related to intensive Digital Screen use have entered the literature as "Digital Eye Fatigue Syndrome" or "Computer Vision Syndrome."

Digital eye fatigue syndrome, or computer-related vision syndrome, is defined as a series of ocular surface discomforts and vision problems that arise during or after computer use.

The most frequently reported symptoms by patients related to computer screen use are:

In the eyes; fatigue, itching, redness, dryness, burning, stinging, watering, blurred and double vision, color perception distortion, slow focusing, and in addition headaches...

While these problems may alleviate with a break from computer or screen use for most people, especially in individuals with underlying ocular surface problems, the progression of the existing disease can impair their quality of life and eye health.

A study has shown that Digital Eye Fatigue can reduce the productivity of individuals in the workforce by up to 40%.

There are three main mechanisms blamed for computer-related vision syndrome:

  1. Extraocular = outside the eye factors,
  2. Accommodative = factors related to accommodation or focusing,
  3. Ocular surface = factors related to the eye's surface.

Extraocular mechanisms are mostly related to issues with the incorrect determination of the distance or angle of the digital screen to eye level and posture problems during the use of mobile phones or tablets. These problems often accompany complaints related to the musculoskeletal system such as headaches, neck, and back pain.

Accommodative mechanisms; To be able to look closely at a computer screen for a long time, we need accommodation or focusing. We need to be somewhat myopic to make this accommodation for close viewing. Prolonged close viewing causes accommodative spasm and shifts us to pseudomyopia. Blurry or double vision, temporary myopia, and focus problems caused by this mechanism usually relax after taking a break from computer or screen use.

Among these factors, the most common ocular surface mechanism is the dryness of the eyes, which occurs during or after screen use, accompanied by sensations of dryness, stinging, burning, redness, and itching.

Among the reasons blamed for eye-related complaints; the cause of dry eyes is the mechanism of reduced blinking frequency, increased eye lid gap related to horizontal gaze at the computer screen, and thus an increase in the corneal surface area exposed to the air. In addition to all these mechanisms, factors such as contact lens use, systemic drugs such as antidepressants and isotretinoin, and dryness due to glaucoma medications can also cause personal differences in the severity of Computer Eye Syndrome.

While Computer Eye Syndrome poses a threat to occupational safety for workers, the increasing use at all ages also requires attention and precautions for public health.

Let's look at our digital screens with care. Stay healthy.

Dr. Mehtap Abay