Digital Eye Strain Causing Your Dry Eyes? Proper Hydration Can Help
The average American spends more than 10 hours a day interacting with a smartphone or computer screen, and too much screen time may wreak havoc on your eyes. Digital eye strain, computer vision syndrome and visual fatigue are a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer or tablet and cellphone use. People who spend an extended amount of time staring at screens experience eye discomfort, vision problems, dry eyes, eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain. According to The Vision Council, 59% of American adults report experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.
Dehydration and Digital Eye Strain
Dryness and dehydration can cause painful red irritated dry eyes and make symptoms related to digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome even worse. Here’s why. Our eyes weren’t designed for staring at a computer screen all day long. Tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches and double vision are all symptoms that occur due to lack of hydration in our body. Our body hydrates our eyes by causing us to blink. We do it, so naturally, we often don’t even know when it is happening. But blinking is an essential function to hydrating our eyes and keeping them working properly. Unfortunately, we blink a lot less (nearly 66% less) when staring at a screen compared to reading a magazine, looking into the distance, sewing and doing other tasks according to experts. When we stare at a screen, we blink about five times per minute instead of 15, which is how many times we need to blink to keep our eyes lubricated. That’s because most OLED and LED screens and devices emit a high-energy vision (HEV) blue light, which can wreak havoc on our eyes causing headaches, dizziness, imbalances in human circadian rhythms, and even age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or blindness. Blue light in its natural form, emitted by the sky, is beneficial to the human body. It regulates sleep-wake cycles and improves alertness. But it can be disruptive in its artificial form (OLED and LED screens), especially at night.And if you already have vision problems such as farsightedness, astigmatism, inadequate eye focusing or eye coordination abilities- prolonged screen time can make your dry eyes and headaches even worse.But there is relief: proper hydration. The medical community is now starting to recognize the role proper hydration can play in improving physiological symptoms related to digital eye syndrome such as dry eyes, headaches, brain fog and fatigue. And it's a big game-changer for many people who suffer from digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome.
How Our Body Prioritizes Hydration
To fully grasp the role proper hydration can make in alleviating digital eye syndrome, we need to understand an essential concept. Our body essentially prioritizes which biological processes it will use water and electrolytes for first. Our bodies are programmed to use water & electrolytes in the bloodstream and brain circulation processes first. To meet these essential needs, our body will pull water and electrolytes from other areas such as eyes, joints and muscles, resulting in dry eyes, headaches, muscle aches, joint pain and brain fog. And even mild dehydration can cause these symptoms to manifest and result in loss of focus and lack of productivity. That’s why rehydrating our body throughout the day makes A LOT of sense. But drinking plain water alone isn’t the most efficient way of getting electrolytes and other nutrients directly into our bloodstream, lymphatic system and interstitial cavities.