The number of electronic devices we use is increasing. And it is also relatively frequent to attribute to their screens a series of pernicious effects for vision, which in many cases lack foundation.

In general, the image of a screen, be it of the television, computer or other electronic device, is not static, but is formed by the continuous succession of images, which causes visual fatigue. Another practice that affects this fatigue is that when we use computers or mobile phones, we are constantly looking at a short distance, which supposes a focus effort superior to the one we use in far vision. Visual fatigue can result in tiredness, eye discomfort and even headache, especially in the case of suffering from a small refractive defect not corrected with the appropriate glasses.

In short, it can be said that the display of screens does not entail serious risks for vision, but overexposure to them or their use in non-optimal conditions can lead to visual fatigue, which will be more marked if the patient has previous defects in the eye not corrected

In our days, it is relatively frequent to find people who present nonspecific discomfort, drowsiness, dryness and irritation of the eyes due to intensive use of the computer. All these symptoms can be attributed to the decrease of the blinking and the consequent decrease in the tear secretion, especially in environments with air conditioning and low humidity.

The symptoms of "dry eye" are varied and consist of burning, redness, itching, feeling of grit, etc .; extreme symptomatology, as we said, for environments with smoke, dust, air conditioning, wind or low humidity. Also a bad tolerance to contact lenses can be an aggravation of the "dry eye".

As for the use of screens, the low frequency of blinking due to visual fixation causes the tears to evaporate rapidly, triggering poor lubrication of the eyes. Those affected often complain of "red eye" and related discomfort at the end of the day, or fluctuating vision after a long day in front of the screen. With an accurate exploration, you can study the amount and quality of tears and thus have a good treatment plan if one suffers from "dry eye".

As a basic palliative treatment, eyelid hygiene, the use of artificial tears, avoiding irritative environments, the use of protective glasses and the periodic rest of the eyes in the days of visual efforts help the patient to improve the symptoms. Also, a diet rich in essential fatty acids, such as that produced by nuts or blue fish, can be beneficial.

Dr. María de la Paz and Dr. Andrés Picó