Eye expert on screen time and eye health

Note: Reading this article will be more enjoyable if you don’t have to strain your eyes to read it.

Good Vision is Critical for Success

Your eyes aid in movement control and recognition and play a crucial role in stability and balance by assessing the environment. For an athlete, quick recognition of movement and perception of distance is the difference between winning and losing. For the average individual, having to navigate the world in all of it’s known and unknown territories with poor eye sight could mean experiencing an accident or injury. Reliable eye sight is important for everyone, especially my clients who many I work with online in front of a computer screen. A serious question that has arisen during a time where many Americans are now working at home and online, is what are the challenges that being in front of a screen present to our eye health? Also, what are some ways we can combat these challenges and keep our sight organs in tip top shape?

For this, I visited my favorite eye specialist who just happens to be my own Optometrist Dr. Bob Rothbard for answers.

More Screen Time, More Challenges

As my time in front of a scree, whether it has been my computer or phone during quarantine has doubled, I am starting to wonder what are the negative side effects? Are my eyeballs going to shrivel up like when you cook a bundle of kale for more than 10 seconds? I asked Dr. Rothbard for what looking at a computer for long hours can lead to.

Knowing what problems can arise, I asked how what can we do to keep our eyes healthy and strong.

Are Blue Ray Blockers Enough?

I keep my blue ray blockers near my computer at all times, to me they are my front line defense in protecting my eyes from the harmful blue light that many of us are overly exposed to on a daily basis. Surely the glasses are the best solution to protecting the eyes. Or so I thought…..

  1. Checking their eyes
  2. Seeing how they are seeing clearly
  3. Seeing if they are seeing comfortably
  4. How much stress can I put that visual system under and still have them maintain

This was pretty eye opening for me, I tend to swear by my blue blockers so it was nice to get a professional opinion on what should be the biggest priority with protecting the eyes. In this case it is getting a proper prescription. Out of curiosity, I asked Dr. Rothbard how many people are dealing with issues with near sighted problems.

More than 20/20

Before our interview together I was reading into Dr. Rothbard’s articles that he wrote and in it he mentions a phrase “good vision is more than 20/20”. I wanted to know more about what why having clear vision isn’t enough.

“Vision is more than 20/20, you can have 20/20 vision and you can see double, you can have 20/20 vision but you get fatigue when you have to read, that just means clarity. If a person notices that when they have to read, even if they can see 20/20, without glasses or contacts, without anything, but they have to read up here that’s a problem.
You also want to know if these people have problems with motion sickness, in the back seat of a car. Or problems with florescent lightening, this is sometimes because of the coordination of the eyes”.

This point was driven home for me when Dr. Rothbard had me stand up and perform a visual demonstration. I was instructed to look across the room with both eyes and concentrate on an object across the room, he then placed a lens in front of one eye. This lens had no effect on the clarity of my vision, but because there was a spacial issue with one eye, I could only focus on the object by having to strain my eyes.

The Rise of Esports

If you are not familiar with esports it is the world of competitive, organized video gaming. Competitors from different leagues or teams face off in the same games that are popular with at-home gamers and currently it is a billion dollar industry.
I wanted to know what Dr. Rothbard was most interested in with the future of Esports.

I was fortunate enough to try out a training exercise that Dr. Rothbard uses primarily with the gaming population looking to boost their performance. You can watch a video that goes over this exercise in detail at the bottom of this page.

I hope after reading this blog you see with more clarity why it’s important to take care of your eyes and that getting the proper prescription is necessary if you want to avoid the strains and headaches of increased screen time. Be sure to have a routine check up with your optometrist to discuss the best plan of action for you. I’m grateful to have an optometrist who is just as passionate of helping his clients keep their eyes strong as I am about teaching healthy living.

Dr. Bob Rothbard has practiced optometry for over 38 years where he has a strong back round in behavioral optometry which emphasizes how what you do (for example digital screen time) affects your vision and how your vision influences how efficient you are at performing various tasks such as learning, sports performance, work performance and more relevant today, gaming and E-Sports. In June 2008 I was honored by the Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce as their Small Business of the Year and he is an author of his book Looking Good: My Passion for Optometry and the Lives I’ve Changed.

For more info on Dr. Rothbard’s work check out the links below: