Pokémon Go May Be Hurting Your Eyes

Headaches, dry eyes, blurred or double vision - all of these symptoms are a result of looking at a computer or cell phone screens all day long. It’s called digital eye strain.

"Digital Eye Strain is a collective term to describe symptoms that people have after they work on the computer for a long period of time. When we look at the computer our eye blinks less. We only blink about 30% of the normal rate. And convergence of the eye muscle becomes so tired [that] some people report seeing double, feeling very tired, or you cannot focus or concentrate," Dr. Pang says.

And, with the recent Pokemon Go craze, Dr. Pang suggests more people might be susceptible to it.

"When you are talking about using any type of computer game, any type of phone game, not only are you exposed to the same problems from earlier, but you're also exposed to conditions such as the High Energy Visible Blue Light (HEV Light)."

According to Dr. Pang HEV Light, which is the light commonly associated with cell phone screens, penetrates directly into the eye, which can eventually cause damage to the eye’s photoreceptors.

"When you're running around chasing all the Pokemon monsters the problem is you do not know you are actually doing damage to your eye," Pang says.

And some phones, like the iPhone, have a night shift feature which browns the screen, reducing harmful blue light. Dr. Pang recommends his patients have this feature turned on all the time. Whether computer screens are ultimately to blame for poor vision in our current hyper-digital world Dr. Pang says, "Ever since the computer revolution...we can see there's a drastic increase in nearsightedness."

In order to avoid digital eye strain, he says to, "Take breaks. At least every hour stand up, look at something far away. You relax your eyes looking far away. And, also, you can force blink your eyes seven times, consecutively, and then your natural tears will come out."

Dr. Pang also says nutrition is important to good eye health. He recommends eating more beta-carotene from carrots or lutein from leafy greens. There are also glasses that are made to reduce HEV light if you game a lot or are on the computer on a daily basis.

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