Vision Health

Vision health is an important aspect of your overall health, and it’s particularly important if you are spending a lot of time in front of your electronic devices!

If you are spending too much time staring at a blue screen, it can cause serious eye strain.

When you spend too much time looking at your device screens, you tend to blink less, and the screen movement and text size cause your eyes to strain as our eyes work to focus.

According to WebMD, “experts think digital eyestrain, or computer vision syndrome as the condition is now referred to, affects about 50% of computer users.” 1 This does not only apply to those who work in front of a computer, but to those who spends a great deal of time staring at their devices for too long, including children.

The symptoms of computer vision syndrome include dry, irritated eyes and blurred vision.

According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, “there is evidence that shows that blue light can cause permanent vision changes and may increase the risk of macular degeneration, a disease of the retina.” 2, 3

It’s recommended if you spend a lot of time in front of your device screens to take certain steps to protect your vision and give your eyes a rest to relieve any strain you may be placing on your vision.

Consider the following tips from eye experts:

  • Adjust the lighting on your screens. Make sure that your device screens are not brighter than the surrounding light so that your eyes do not strain to see.
  • Give your eyes a break. “The American Ophthalmological Society recommends using the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain. Take a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.” 4
  • Keep your eyes moist. Consider using eye drops to lubricate your eyes when they feel dry.
  • Keep your distance. Keep your screen at an arm’s length distance from your eyes and adjust the angle of the screen if you need to move your focus slightly downward.
  • Reduce glare. Adjust your screen so that there is no glare from sunlight or internal light, as glare can further aggravate your vision.
  • Use blue light filters. Blue light filters can decrease the amount of blue light emanating from a screen to your eyes to prevent eye fatigue.
  • Annual eye exam. Getting an annual eye exam to determine if any chronic eye conditions are developing is crucial to your vision health. 5

The IBT’s vision plan benefit, offered through VSP, provides our members excellent service and access to eye doctors, affordable well vision care and quality eyewear and products, including:

  • Annual eye exam fully covered after $10 copay
  • Access to the VSP doctor network
  • $150 frame allowance on top brand eyeglasses and/or $150 allowance for contact lenses
  • 20% savings on additional glasses and sunglasses
  • 15% savings on contact lens fitting exams
  • Reduced prices on LASIK

If you are already enrolled in the IBT’s sponsored VSP insurance plan, using your VSP benefits is easy! Just create an account at vsp.com and view your available benefits, file a claim to request reimbursement and find a network or out-of-network doctor in your area. No ID card is necessary to schedule an appointment, but if you prefer to have an ID card, you can print one online. Visit vsp.com for other special offers and savings!

All retired PORAC RAM members and active employees whose associations are enrolled in the IBT’s sponsored VSP plan are eligible for vision insurance benefits. New subscribers must enroll during the annual open enrollment period. For additional information, contact the Insurance and Benefits Trust of PORAC at (800) 655-6397 or visit our Vision page.

Featured in the May 2022 issue of PORAC Law Enforcement News.

1. Helmer, J. (2020, October 03) “Seeing Blue: How Blue Light Can Affect Your Health” WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/blue-light-health
2. Ibid.
3. “Ultra-violet and Blue Light Aggravate Macular Degeneration.” American Macular Degeneration Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.macular.org/ultra-violet-and-blue-light
4. UPMC Susquehanna. (2019, January 6) “Is Screen Time Really Bad for Our Eyes?” UPMC HealthBeat. Retrieved from https://share.upmc.com/2019/01/screen-time/
5. Ibid.