In 2020, almost everybody has at least one device with a screen. As per the reports, the people around the globe spend almost 3-5 hours looking at a screen per day, and this figure is only predicted to increase. Matter of fact, more people are having laser eye surgery than ever.
Screens are a part of our everyday life, but staring at screens for hours on end exposes your eyes to blue light.
How Do Screens Damage Our Eyes?
Due to the very sudden surge in screen usage, little is known about the long term effects of blue light and eye damage, but studies do suggest that prolonged exposure of blue light from devices such as laptops and smartphones can damage retinal cells.
The amount of people with myopia has hugely increased in the last few decades. Since 1971, the incidents of myopia have nearly doubled in the U.S, and more children are wearing glasses than ever before.
Myopia is prevalent among over 40% of adults aged 25 to 29 years old, which is almost double that of adults aged 55 to 59.
Reason Behind Increasing Eye Problem
The reason behind this is still unknown to ophthalmologists, but it has been thought to be linked with an increase of exposure to blue light.
The number of reports of vision problems has hugely increased since the introduction of the smartphone, and this is thought to be a result of users holding the device closer to their eyes than intended.
Digital eye strain is also something that can be caused by looking at a computer, laptop, and phone screens.
Many digital devices, such as smartphones, have smaller writing and pixelated images, which can cause our eyes to strain to focus and read them.
When you’re looking at and focusing on a screen, you’re likely to blink considerably less. This causes the eyes to become dry, which can lead to irritation.
Symptoms of digital eye strain include:
- Red eyes
- Dryness of the eyes
- Irritated eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Neck/ shoulder pain
How Can We Prevent Eye Damage From Screens?
Screen exposure is pretty much inevitable in 2020, but luckily there are some precautions that can be taken to limit the negative effects of blue light and prolonged screen exposure on our eyes.
Limit Screen Time
Try to limit the amount of time you spend per day on your phone, laptop, or staring at a TV. If you’re unable to lower the amount of time, then you should consider taking breaks.
When doing close work especially, take occasional breaks from the screen. Try the 20,20,20 rule. Every 20 minutes or so, try taking a look at something around 20 feet away, for a minimum of 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to adjust to something else, and moisten.
You blink considerably less when staring at a screen, which can lead to dry eyes. Blinking produces tears and moistens our eyes, which is why it’s important to try to blink more while looking at a screen.
Adjust the Lighting
There are things you can do in certain situations to limit the strain on your eyes. For example, when watching television, keep the room lightly lit. This will make it easier for your eyes to focus.
With phones and laptops, adjust the screen to the environment. For example, at night time, it will be less damaging to your eyes if the phone is on the lowest brightness, as opposed to full brightness in the pitch black.
There are inexpensive glasses you can purchase that lower the blue light exposure to your eyes. The yellow tint in the glasses lowers the strain on your eyes by increasing the contrast.
There are tinted screen filters available for digital devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and computer screens. These filters can increase the contrast and lower the amount of blue light given off, protecting our eyes from their potentially damaging effect.
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