Many of us have been staring at screens for a number of years now without considering the possible danger to our eyesight. Parental threats about square eyes were always shrugged off. Long sessions of movie watching or gaming coupled with jobs which involve staring at a computer screen for upwards of eight hours a day have never apparently caused any negative effect. So is there anything to all the fuss about potential eye damage?
Evidence of Eyesight Damage
The problem is you might be doing damage which will reveal itself down the line. Researchers at the Toho University School of medicine in Tokyo found a correlation between computer use and eye disease. They studied 10,000 workers with an average age of 43 and found a significant link between heavy computer use and visual field abnormalities. It is a frightening prospect.
The American Optometric Association has also highlighted the threat of computer vision syndrome. Workers who engage in heavy computer use are at risk of dry eyes and eye strain. They advise looking away from the computer screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to reduce the risk of damage. You are also supposed to blink frequently.
Blinking is a natural defence and it helps to rest the eyes and keep the eyeballs lubricated. You are supposed to blink at least every five seconds but there is evidence that two groups of computer users are blinking much less than this and could be damaging their eyesight in the process. Who are these two groups you ask? Well predictably enough tired people blink less, so those late night surfing sessions could be a dangerous habit. The other group is gamers who stare so intently at the screen they don’t want to blink for fear of missing some action. If you are an FPS fan you’ll know it can be a case of blink and you die.
The solution that a Japanese company called Masunaga Optical Manufacturing have come up with is rather bizarre. It is a pair of glasses that plug into your USB port. Dubbed Wink Glasses this odd device has a built in sensor which detects your blink rate. If you don’t blink at least every five seconds then the lenses will fog up obscuring your view. When you do blink at a normal rate again they revert to clear. The glasses can work for eight hours from a single USB charge and they are lightweight and comfortable. They are initially only being released in Japan and the price tag is over $400.
This seems like a pretty extreme approach to making you blink. They suggest you could use the glasses while reading, working or even gaming. I can’t see too many gamers risking a blast of blindness in the middle of their action but who knows. If these glasses can really save you from eyesight problems then perhaps they will be adopted. Things like wrist rests, feet and back supports and even massages have become common in some workplaces keen to avoid health and safety issues. Of course since you blink less when you are tired and the fogging action can wake you up and improve your attentiveness the first adopters may be employers keen to keep their staff awake.