Mythbusters: No, Staring at Screens Won’t Damage Your Eyes
You won’t go blind just because you’re looking at your smartphone or computer for hours on end.
Let’s face it: if we’re not exercising, sleeping, or driving, we’re most likely on our gadgets, staring at a screen. You’re in front of one right now. This habit often leaves many wondering: is all this screen time permanently destroying my eyesight? Medical experts have come forward with good news: it doesn’t.
Time to debunk a myth about electronic screens that we all have been made to believe for a long time.
Chronic Eye Strains Do No Permanent Damage
Ever had the feeling, after staring at your computer all day, like your eyes have been rinsed in sand? That can happen. And it’s uncomfortable. But, luckily, it’s not destructive to your eyes. Health experts assure us that there is, as of yet, no evidence that eye strain leads to chronic issues. Which is a huge relief … but still doesn’t fix that pain you’re in right now. If you can’t reduce your screen time, there are still some ways to minimize the pain it causes.
5 Tips to Lessen Eye Discomforts
Just because the short-term symptoms won’t blind you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t manage your screen time. Here are ways to keep Computer Vision Syndrome at bay:
Maintain proper distance from the screen.
Hold your smartphone two inches from your face while reading a lengthy SMS and we bet you’ll be getting a headache in no time. The fact is that the closer the screen is to your eyes, the harder your eyes need to focus. You don’t want to overwork your eyes that way. Eye doctors recommend positioning the screen 16 inches from your face. The same distance applies to smartphones, too. Increase your device’s font size in case you can’t read at that distance.
Adjust the screen’s brightness.
There is little to no benefit in having the screen brighter than it needs to be. Bright screens can be irritating to the eyes, so it’s recommended that you turn down the display’s brightness. Or, try inverting the colors on the screen so black text becomes white and the white background turns black. The good news is that most mobile devices these days can invert colors in a jiffy. Some even swear by how it makes text easier to read.
Give your eyes time to rehydrate.
Take breaks from staring at electronic displays whenever you can. By giving your eyes some time off from looking at screens, you lower the chances suffering dry eyes. According to experts, your eyes blink differently when you’re focused on screens. They don’t completely blink so it makes it difficult for the eyeballs to stay moist. It doesn’t help that you barely blink whenever you’re in front of a computer or smartphone. Additionally, it might be a good idea to keep moistening eye drops on hand.
Modify the screen’s color scheme.
In the retina, there are blue light-sensitive molecules that are there to help set the body’s circadian rhythm. Research has linked excessive exposure to blue light with insomnia. Daytime exposure could prove to be just as problematic, though. Experts suggest that you shift your screen’s color away from blue and more toward the warmer end of the color spectrum. Ideally, the screen light shouldn’t be predominantly blue if you don’t want your screen time to be the reason you lose sleep at night.
Remember the 20-20-20 rule.
It’s one of those pieces of advice we hear several times that we rarely heed. However, this principle may be the most effective at preventing eye discomfort at the end of a long day in front of the computer. This is how it works: look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. As you follow the 20-20-20 rule, make sure to blink completely. Never mind the stares you get for looking a little spaced out because what’s more important is you won’t go home with overworked eyes.
Looking at computer/smartphone screens is no longer a luxury. It’s something we all need to do. Luckily, it isn’t causing permanent damage; however, it’s important to manage your time in front of the screen each day, if only to avoid discomfort. We hope these five techniques are a great start!