Eye fatigue and tired eyes affect many mobile device users.
Having a hard time deciding whether that’s an “l” or “i” on your phone, computer or e-reader? You may suffer from eye strain, tired eyes and even CVS–Computer Vision Syndrome.
Eye Fatigue Due to Lack of Blinking and Overuse
That’s the word from the Canadian Association of Optometrists, who claims that the average person spends 7.5 hours a day staring at computers, televisions, cell phones and smartphones. (“Computer screens causing eye strain for boomers“.) Eye fatigue is the main culprit.
According to the researchers, eye fatigue is due to lack of enough blinking and sex. (I mean women suffer more eyestrain, say the researchers, due to hormone changes.)
People normally blink around 16 to 20 times a minute. But put a computer or cell phone in front of their eyes and the blink rate drops to 6 to 8 times a minute. Not good. Fewer tears, more dry eyes, more eye fatigue and other vision problems.
iPad and Movie Goers Get Eye Fatigue
Apple iPad owners, as you stare at their devices, may also start experiencing eye fatigue. Even 3D movie goers, the “Avatar crowd” may suffer from eyesight problems.
Young people have less eye fatigue than their elders when viewing electronic screens. A 18 year old’s lenses in the eye-ball are more pliable than lenses among people in their 40′s and 50′s.
6 point type looks sharper to a young person than someone older. As our eyes age, however, small screen fonts cause greater eye strain, dry eyes and even migraines.
Some years ago, I had Lasik surgery with mono vision correction (my right eye for reading, my left for distance). Then I could more easily read tiny type in newspapers. As I’ve aged, eye fatigue has increased because my eye health isn’t as good.
Font Size Adjustments Reduce Eye Fatigue
Fortunately some Smartphones, like the iPhone, my Sprint HTC Hero and a few BlackBerry’s, let you adjust font sizes. But device displays are not keeping pace with users’ ability to read small type and avoid eye fatigue.
Using your voice to interact with your phone is one solution. As I wrote in a futuristic post “A Day in the Life of a 4G Wireless Mobile Phone Guy,” phone voice technology in the future advances considerably. “Charlene,” the phone guy’s companion, is a smartphone that communicates with him by voice, sparing the eyes.
Charlene not only understands simple voice commands. She interprets his intentions and makes suggestions based on her previous communications with him–all done without him squinting at a tiny phone screen. This reduces eye strain symptoms like fatigue.
Other Treatments for Tired Eyes
They’re a few products and herbal remedies like basil and cotton balls soaked in witch-hazel that may help people experiencing tired eyes, fatigue, floaters and other eye problems.
Maybe you’d like a pair of Japanese-made “Wink Glasses,” intended for heavy video-gamers and book readers who fail to blink. For a mere $430, you get glasses with built-in sensors. Fail to blink for longer than five seconds and the lens in front of the offending eye fogs up until you comply.
It’s like the Borg Queen on Star Trek saying “you must comply,” but without all the metal body gear.
Until someone in Silicon Valley, the Japanese or the Borg Queen find solutions to our electronic eye fatigue problems, I recommend you hold your smartphone in your left hand, a lens magnifier in your right and use your nose for touch screen text entry. Even if your nose hits the wrong keys, you’ll at least see the screen clearly while avoiding eye fatigue.
By the way, I typed this blog post using 18 point type in a text editor. WordPress’ tiny fonts worsen my vision.