Dry Eye, Blue Light and There’s More


Dry Eye, Blue Light and There’s More

The screens of smart devices can pose hazards, some of which are self-inflicted.

Jim Thomas

As documented in this and other issues of Optometric Management, the screens of many devices are a fantastic leap forward in technology, a leap that can pose hazards to our health. From smartphones to desktop computers, we face prolonged exposure to the “bad” blue light and increased risk of dry eye. And then there’s the self-inflicted injuries.

Pushing the limits

I’m not referring to physical health-related issues, although a laptop once fell on my foot, and I don’t recommend it. And who hasn’t seen pedestrians so engrossed in a smart device that they walk into walls, other people or even water fountains? But I’m thinking more of actions that may impact professional health and reputation. For example:

The meeting interrupter. Have you attended a meeting where a colleague or business associate lets their cell phone ring and then proceeds to take the call? How about the text answerer, even those sly enough to “fool” us by placing their phone below the table?

Is it any different than receiving a greeting card where the front reads, “On your (fill in occasion here), let me tell you how much I care.” And the inside reads, “Oh, wait, I have a call coming in.” Some callers excuse themselves from the room, which begs the question: If the meeting can go on without you, why are you there? And certainly, emergencies and exceptions exist, but if you feel the need to answer every message instantly, what message are you sending to the patient/customer/vendor right in front of you?

Possessed by phone. Evidently, the 21st century multitasker will take calls anywhere, from the theater to the doctor’s office to the airport restroom (that’s just creepy). As these become more frequent, my advice to airports is: Please consider a special call-free restroom… or a special smartphone restroom.

Didn’t see that coming. Did you hear the one about the communications executive who aimed e-mail tirades at an aspiring job seeker? The unsavory comments of this executive found their way on to social media outlets, went viral and ultimately damaged the executive’s reputation. (Why is it they never post the nice things we say/write/text?) In a world where communications are transparent, we may well ask, is there such a thing as a private comment anymore, but we probably know the answer.

Feel free to share your thoughts on smart devices with us by e-mailing me at OM