Nowadays, technology has established connections between everyone. It permeates the workplace, home and even moments of recreation. It is undeniable that the internet, computers, phones and other devices contribute significantly to simplifying life. Agility in communication, optimization of time and efficiency, as well as convenience in carrying out daily activities, both personal and professional, represent just some of the notable gains. However, it is crucial to assess the extent to which the incorporation of technology brings benefits to our well-being. According to an investigation conducted by Cary Cooper, a professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University, the excessive use of devices such as smartphones, tablets and the like can result in problems such as depression, stress and insomnia.
See below what the main problems are, as well as tips to avoid or, at least, minimize their effects:
The practice of using computers in bed to watch television programs, films and series, as well as the habit of using cell phones in bed to play games or surf the internet and exchange messages, has been shown to be closely linked to sleep disorders, such as insomnia. Furthermore, a change in the circadian cycle is noted, due to a decrease in melatonin production, especially when we experience this incidence at night, inducing insomnia. As a result, the brain, instead of preparing the body for sleep, remains alert and stimulated. It is necessary to disconnect and slow down your thoughts so that your brain waves slow down and sleep comes. The later this process happens, the fewer hours we sleep.
Loss of focus:
Loss of concentration is also one of the serious consequences that arise when technology is used indiscriminately. To prevent such a scenario, the most effective approach is to engage in activities that require sharp focus, such as solving puzzles, playing sudoku, solving crosswords, sewing and even practicing activities that require balance.
Fatigue and physical pain:
Excessive use of electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, tablets and video games also contributes to the emergence of various orthopedic and muscular conditions. Repetitive movements to type and play can result in problems such as tendinitis and bursitis, as well as several other injuries or joint dysfunctions due to the habit of tilting the head down when reading and responding to messages, posting content and checking notifications on social networks. It is extremely important to adopt an appropriate body posture when using any type of electronic device. It’s also essential to align your arms for typing and adjust devices to a height that avoids the need to constantly look down.
Recent studies indicate that the increase in depression is related to the greater use of time on the internet. The fine line between the real world and the imaginary can trigger a series of psychological, individual and social complications. Therefore, when the use of electronic devices continues, it can encourage and even worsen anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, behavioral deviations or antisocial attitudes, depression and even suicidal tendencies.
It is known that visual disorders affect at least 50 million individuals in Brazil, as indicated by data from the World Health Organization (WHO). Of these cases, 60% are linked to blindness and visual impairment problems associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CSV), a condition related to the prolonged use of devices such as computers, televisions and tablets. This can result in symptoms such as red, irritated eyes, headaches, and other manifestations. Furthermore, other problems arising from this habit include eye fatigue and dry eyes, which tend to have a greater impact on the elderly. Symptoms can also include headaches, resulting from the intense fixation of the eyes on the screen, which reduces the frequency of blinking and reduces the lubrication of the cornea. It is suggested that people alternate the use of screens with moments of focus on distant objects, preferably outdoors, and adopt the use of eye lubricants, always with medical advice. Furthermore, a good night’s sleep is essential to alleviate symptoms, as it provides the eyes with the necessary rest.
Blue light can induce oxidative stress in the retina, which in turn can accelerate eye aging and increase the risk of developing conditions such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), early cataracts and keratitis (inflammation of the cornea).
When we are in front of monitors and screens, additional visual effort is required to focus closely, which can contribute to the increase in the size of the eyeball, leading to refraction problems. To mitigate these effects, it is recommended to step away from devices every hour, reserving around 10 minutes for rest; dedicate four to eight hours a week to outdoor environments; prefer large monitors and be careful with excessive light intensity.
In addition to the effects of excessive use of electronics, there are also other habits that can cause harm to vision in general. Below we have some tips on how to protect yourself and promote your eye health:
Use glasses and/or lenses with a blue light filter:
Ophthalmic lenses equipped with a blue light filter, readily available on the market, reduce phototoxicity by between 10.6% and 23.6%, while maintaining intact visual performance. For this reason, these lenses have been proposed as a useful complement to protect the eyes against the potential harmful effects of blue light. Wearing glasses that selectively filter blue-violet light at night can help improve both the quality and duration of sleep.
Consume foods rich in vitamins:
Among the essential vitamins for maintaining healthy vision, vitamins A, E and C stand out, present in purple, red and orange foods, such as açaí, jabuticaba, pumpkin and papaya. These vitamins act as antioxidants, fighting free radicals and slowing down eye aging.
Consume foods rich in minerals and fats:
Zinc, magnesium and copper are highly recommended. Regarding beneficial fats, omega 3 plays a fundamental role in eye lubrication and mitigating dry eye syndrome. Furthermore, the consumption of raw garlic demonstrates benefits for glaucoma, as it is effective in reducing intraocular and systemic pressure, due to its vasodilatory properties.
Consume foods rich in Carotenoids:
Another valuable source of antioxidants are foods rich in carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are predominant in yellow, orange, red and green vegetables, such as nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, corn and arugula.
The sedentary lifestyle associated with the extensive use of digital devices is contributing to the increase in obesity cases. This, in turn, can lead to negative health consequences, for example the emergence of cardio-metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, changes in cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
To ensure that the use of electronics does not harm our quality of life, it is essential to adopt a conscious approach. This means balancing time spent on screens with time spent spending time with loved ones and carrying out outdoor activities. By recognizing the benefits of technology, such as accessibility to information and ease of communication, we can use it strategically in our lives. Setting limits on electronic device use and taking regular breaks can be valuable steps toward preserving our mental, physical, and emotional health.
The post Care for Life.