If you’re like most people with a smartphone, you may spend a good deal of time looking at it, whether you’re sending texts, playing games or posting on social media. Now, some phones are notifying you when your screen time has increased or decreased because too much screen time is just not good for you.
One way that screen time on your phone may affect your health is by possibly damaging your eyesight. Among the main factors that can hurt your eyes are the small sizes of the screen and the blue light that the devices emit.
Increasingly, optometry patients are complaining of eye fatigue and blurry vision that could be the result of using their phones frequently. When you try to read small text, you can strain your eyes, which can eventually tire them out and weaken your vision. In addition, when people look at screens, they tend to blink less frequently, which further wears on their eyesight.
Ongoing exposure to blue light from smartphones can also hasten blindness as it triggers light-sensitive cells, according to a recent study published in Scientific Reports journal.
Essentially, blue light can damage photoreceptor cells in the retina by causing a reaction that results in poisonous molecules. Unfortunately, when photoreceptor cells are killed, they are gone for good because they can’t regenerate. In this way, too much blue light can speed up macular degeneration, which is already a common eye problem diagnosed in older patients that can lead to blurry vision or blindness.
If you don’t want to spend less time on your device, one way to combat eye fatigue is to be mindful of how long you spend on each session. Then, consciously give yourself a break from the screen, say every 15 to 20 minutes. If you have children using devices, try to ensure that they also take regular time away from the screens to rest their eyes.
You can also keep your eyes in shape by focusing your vision on different distances. When you take a break, look at the horizon, or try shifting your eyes from left to right and exercising your peripheral vision.
To help combat the problems associated with too much blue light, avoid looking at your iPhone or device in the dark. You can also even wear protective sunglasses.
Or, explore the growing number of blue light blockers that work as screen protectors that are healthier for your retina. Those accessories are now selling for about $20 to $30 when the costs of macular degeneration can easily run higher than that.
The good news is that if your vision is suffering from too much screen time, taking breaks and reducing your screen time may help fix the problem. If not, visit your optometrist to see if your vision problem is a result of other factors.