Smart phones, laptops, and other handheld devices are known to transmit light called “Blue light” which maybe gradually blinding you by the day. Think about it: you stare at a tiny screen for hours, trying to absorb as much content as you can, while quickly scrolling through your favorite news apps, to playing games and responding to your social media handles. Due to the nature of our job, we get to stare at a computer screen from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and all of this is a recipe for more trips to the eye doctor. Blue lights damage the retina which is irreversible.
Researches have shown that the average person looks at their smartphone 150 times or more per day. All that staring from frequent phone use, computer use, and TV-watching can all lead to an eye health issue, in this context its often called Computer Vision Syndrome characterized by blurred vision, dry eyes, sore eyes, and headaches. Find out how your phone affects your health;
• Blinking Less Often: Blinking helps your eyes redistribute moisture, keeping them from getting dry, and also acts as a natural defense against excessive exposure to outside elements like dust and sunlight. You should blink about 15 times per minute. Which we don’t when staring at our smartphone, giving the eyes much less time to recover. There is a growing concern for Dry-eye disease also caused by less blinking (a condition where the eyes don’t produce enough moisture, in the form of tears, to provide a protective film, meaning that the eye surface becomes more easily irritated). Adults are more prone to having the disease with children following the trend.
• Squinting: You may not mind reading smaller text on a smartphone screen, but your eyes sure do. Squinting at on-screen text and videos overworks your muscles around your eyes, neck, and shoulders, and is a major cause of eyestrain and blurred vision.
• Excessive Glare: Our eyes aren’t meant to stare directly at light for long periods of time, which is why the glare from the light of your cell phone screen can cause eye strain. Using your phone in the dark to check your emails or social media only worsens these negative conditions.
Your smartphone-induced health problems may not end with eye strain or dry eyes. Research has shown that spending time on your cell phone before bed can reduce melatonin production, making it harder for you to fall or stay asleep. Melatonin helps to naturally regulate sleep, but blue light from our phone inhibits the release of the enzyme, so you are wide awake why you scroll through your phone. Cell phone use has also caused an upsurge in back and neck problems (from bending over your phone).
How to protect your eyes from your mobile screen
Smartphones have come to stay and to many people can never do without. However, taking the right steps today can drastically reduce the risk of having smartphone vision problems in the future. Dear readers, consider taking these simple steps to reduce your risk of smartphone-related eye damage:
• Firstly, scroll to google play store and download “blue light filter” to decrease the amount of blue light that’s displayed on the screen of the device
• Turn Down the Glare: Chances are, your smartphone’s brightness setting is way higher than necessary. Reducing the glare from your screen will make phone use easier on your eyes and can also help you conserve battery life. Simply access your phone’s settings and adjust the brightness to a lower, more comfortable level.
• Adjust Your Text Size: If you have to squint to read on your phone, try making the font larger so that your on-screen text will be bigger and easier to see
• Remember to Blink: It may sound strange, but reminding yourself to blink while using your smartphone can reduce the amount of strain you place on your eyes. By blinking more often, you’re helping your eyes retain moisture, repel irritants, and remain refreshed all day.
• Take Breaks: This is our most important tip and also the hardest to follow. Taking breaks from using digital devices can drastically reduce the amount of strain placed on your eyes. For every 20 minutes spent on your smartphone, spend at least 20 seconds looking away.
• Eyewear/glass is available with lenses featuring magnification, anti-reflective and blue light-filtering capabilities to help reduce the symptoms associated with digital eye strain.
• Keep digital devices at about an arm’s distance away from the face.
While we may be all guilty of the above listed and it seems inevitable to put away our gadgets, the only way out is by intentionally breaking up with them.