Man at computer with eye pain.
Ears, Nose, Throat, Eye Health

What's Hurting Your Eyes and Your Ears

Some people may wonder about the impact of extended daily use of computers, cell phones and tablets on their eyes. After all, many people’s employment is screen-based and so many are addicted to their smartphones and devices. Ophthalmologist Karen M. Rudo, MD, offers some tips on how to reduce screen-associated eye strain, while researchers continue to debate whether the discomfort of eye strain is linked to long-term damage.

  • If your eyes feel tired while working on the computer, simply close your eyes to allow your eyelids to disperse tears — moisturizing your eyes.
  • Staring at a screen all day? Your eyes will probably start to feel dry, and when you look away from the screen, objects might appear blurry. That’s your body telling you that it’s time to take a break because your blink rate slows immediately when you start looking at a screen.
  • Adjust cell phone settings to tone down the blue hue associated with disrupting sleep patterns. Glasses that block blue light are also available but tend to be more beneficial for people under age 50.
  • Give your eyes a rest using the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s 20-20-20 formula: Every 20 minutes take a 20-second break. Look away from the screen at something that’s 20 feet away.
  • If problems with eye or neck strain persist, one option — particularly for someone needing readers or bifocals due to age-related farsightedness — may be special glasses for computer use only.

Did you know that 48 million people in the U.S. have trouble hearing in one, if not both, of their ears? Noise is everywhere we go — work, school, traffic, home, and more. Bayhealth Primary Care Physician Joseph M. Parise, DO, says everyday things are damaging our ears. Here’s what Dr. Parise wants you to know about ear damage and hearing loss.

  • Hearing loss can be hereditary, but in other cases environmental factors play a role.
  • Sound levels are measured in decibels (dB). Continued exposure to noise that is more than 85 dBA (adjusted decibels) will cause loss of hearing.
  • Simple daily activities have higher adjusted decibels than you realize: Normal conversations measure at 60 dBA, a hair dryer measures 60–95 dBA and heavy traffic measures at 85 dBA.
  • The National Institute of Occupational Safety reports that for a sound level of 115 dB, the limit for exposure is 28 seconds. This means that after one minute of a typical rock concert you’re risking permanent hearing loss.
  • Quite often, people don’t feel the warning signs of hearing damage like pain or ringing in the ears until it’s too late. In fact, if loud noises don’t bother you, you may already suffer from ear damage. If you can’t hear someone from three feet away, feel pain, hear buzzing, or have difficulty speaking, you may have hearing damage.
  • The key to preventing hearing loss is to decrease the sound of noises when you can. This may mean cutting back on using loud machines or using headsets less often.

Need a doctor? Visit or call 1-866-BAY-DOCS (229-3627).

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