A person may spend up to four and a half hours looking at a TV screen a day, almost five hours on a laptop, and three hours, 12 minutes playing games. Smartphones also account for four hours and 33 minutes of an adult’s daily screen time. This is equivalent to 44 years staring at a screen. This has detrimental effects on your eye health.
The Washington Post reports that 50 percent of teens are addicted to their mobile devices, and 27 percent of their parents cannot put down their smartphones. Below, we will look at the health effects screen time has on your eyes.
Digital Eye Strain
A condition known as digital eye strain affects over half of people who work in front of a computer screen. It is typical for digital eye strain to lead to eye fatigue, dried eyes, and itchy, irritated, or red eyes. According to scientists, these symptoms are caused by overexposure to visible light emitted from digital devices. Blue light is an extremely short, high-energy wavelength with a wavelength ranging from 380 to 500 nanometers. Deeply penetrating these waves creates a glaring effect, resulting in irritation and eye strain.
Eye care specialists can treat digital eye strain, but no studies are showing long-term damage yet. Researchers have claimed that electronic devices emit only small amounts of energy, but some studies have shown that exposure to blue light can damage retinal tissue.
Other Effects Screen Time Has
There are several potential effects of screen time, including:
- Eye fatigue – Overuse of your eyes can cause double vision, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.
- Dry Eyes -Your eyes become dry and irritated when you stare at a computer screen because you blink less. As a result of dry eye, you may experience blurry vision, and your eye health may be compromised.
- Loss of focus flexibility – As a person gets older, they lose flexibility in adjusting their eyes to see everything clearly at varying distances. But excessive screen time can impede this process.
- Nearsightedness – Screen time can keep our kids inside, which could affect their eye health in the long run. Kids’ eyes need natural daylight to develop correctly. The likelihood of a child developing nearsightedness increases with time spent indoors.
- Retina Damage – Digital devices emit blue light, which can reach the retina (inner lining of the eye). Studies have shown that blue light damages light-sensitive cells in the retina. A consequence of this is age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to severe vision loss. Per The American Optometric Association, children are more likely than adults to experience when exposed to this high-energy light.
A large amount of screen time can also adversely affect your sleep. Studies have shown that blue light causes the brain to alter its sleep rhythm at night. As a result, the brain thinks the screen light is daylight, shifting the body’s sleep rhythm.
Many of us spend more time looking at screens than sleeping. Think about how much time you spend on your phone; just think about all the screens you use daily: tablet, desktop, laptop, smartphone, and LED TV. Americans spend the most time watching television (7.4 hours) as opposed to Italians (317 minutes) and Indonesians (540 minutes). Digital device dependence is a global problem.
If you take steps to reduce your eye discomfort, you can avoid the effects of too much screen time. If you begin to experience symptoms, you are probably not taking the appropriate precautions. Contact your local doctor to get an eye examination. Symptoms caused by too much screen time can be treated and health impacts reduced.