The Bigger the Phone or Tablet, the Less Eye Discomfort!

In a study published last week, it was concluded that size matters when it comes to your eyes and your smartphones or tablets.  A larger phone or tablet font was connected with reduced eye discomfort!

It goes without saying that the use of smart devices is at an all time high. Many of us can be labeled “smartphone addicts”.  They are convenient and easy to use, we can text each other, text people across the globe, watch videos, movies and even search the internet. That does not even cover all the other applications we can use, and how people can almost run a business using their phones and tablets.

People over 60 are using smartphones more than ever and according to data released by Statistics Korea in 2018, 95.7% of users use their smartphones more than once a day, for an average of 10 hours and 47 minutes per week.

As they become almost necessary in our day to day lives, we found it important to share how smartphones and tablets could affect our eyes, as many of our patients complain of eye strain. Many of them are not even in front of a computer all day.

According to the study “The long-term use of smart devices is associated with visual and ocular symptoms, such as eye strain, blurring and dry and/or sore eyes. An increase in near field working hours with the use of smartphones can result in excessive accommodation, increasing ocular fatigue. In addition, continued use of smartphones reduces blinking, causing eye dryness. For this reason, a growing number of patients are seeking clinical help due to their ophthalmic problems associated with increased use of smart devices.”

The position and distance in which we view smartphones and tablets is different than our computers, along with the luminance, screen size, and our patterns of usage.

The viewing distance for smart devices is a lot closer than that of our computers, which could cause eye strain due to accommodation and convergence.  We can have constriction and accommodative spasms in both our iris and ciliary muscle, which can lead to reduced accommodative functions from the distance in which we look at our phones and tablets. This reduction of accommodative functions may cause ocular fatigue.  There are also different types of eye discomfort which include blinking, tear function, and dry eye symptoms.

Tablets Better Than Phones for Eye Discomfort

The investigators were trying to figure out how the size of a smart device screen affects the user’s eye strain and ocular functions, so they used objective metrics to perform quantitative measurements on both changes in accommodation and eye discomfort after using smart devices of different display sizes.

The study essentially concluded that both devices showed significant decreases in Near Point Accommodation and Near Point Convergence, and the larger changes were seen when using the small display smartphone. In our own words, subjects of this study showed a more severe increase in eye discomfort after using smartphones and reported feeling tired even with shorter times of using the phones!

The study noted that even within 20 minutes of use, subjects began to feel ocular discomfort, and it was more severe and faster after smartphones than after tablets.

What this proves to us is that the smaller the display size, the greater the adverse impact was on the subjects’ eyes, and therefore, appropriate display size will need to be selected depending on the time and purpose of use.

We recommend that if you have access to both a smartphone and a tablet, that you choose your tablet when reading articles or watching movies; or when you are trying to do something that takes an extended period of time.  If you’re over 40 or 45 and would like to see better up close, we can also help with another option called, a Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE).

A Refractive Lens Exchange will give you the ability to see better far and up close with an advanced technology intraocular lens.  We offer the most cutting edge IOLs on the market and our surgeons have been involved in the FDA trials for many of these lenses to be made available to patients, so we have the longest experience with them.  To learn more about RLE, please visit our Near Vision page, and scroll to the bottom.

If you are suffering from eye fatigue, have any questions about a Refractive Lens Exchange as an option, would like to know about the advanced IOL’s that we offer, or would like to just schedule an evaluation, please call our office at 713-626-5544 or submit an inquiry to info@visiontexas.com!

Posted in: eye health, Ophthalmology Houston, Refractive Lens Exchange

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