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Eyesight and the digital world: Is too much screen time ruining your eyes?

Following this expert advice will give your eyes the rest they need and reduce long-term damage.  
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/clumsykiwii/" target="_self">Kira Zeng</a>

Kira Zeng

June 23, 2022
The numbers are shocking: screen time of teenagers has doubled from about 3.8 hours a day to about 7.7 hours a day, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Throughout the pandemic, our social and working environments have changed drastically, with more and more corporations and institutions turning to digital tools.

Schools that have gone remote are now still using technology in class more than before the pandemic; many people who were working from home throughout the pandemic are opting to stay at home and on the screen more than ever. 

It is now impossible to go about our daily lives without screens, and while this may be the safer option to avoid the spread of disease, the rise in screen usage that’s now part of our daily lives, even as the pandemic eases, also comes with growing vision problems. 

Blue light from our screens is one way in which our eyesight is being damaged by so much screen time, as reported by NBCI. The short-wavelength blue light from screens can be extremely harmful to the eyes in the long run because the target of the blue light is in front of the retina, instead of in the center as normal light would be; long-term exposure can result in nearsightedness and fatigue.

This causes a number of problems, such as dry eye, which results from screens that can prevent you from blinking normally, or cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that decreases vision. It can also inhibit the secretion of melatonin, which helps us sleep, disrupting our circadian cycle and resulting in poor sleep.  This can have an effect on people’s ability to work and concentrate and can disrupt their daily lives. 

Another health problem that results from long screen usage is computer vision syndrome.

If you spend hours in a day staring at your screen, your eyes can strain, which can lead to headaches, blurry vision and bad posture, according to Classic Vision Care. This is because our screens are at a constant distance from our eyes, so they don’t refocus and focus as they normally do. Staring at screens, our eyes are more focused on closer objects, preventing them from doing their jobs and bending light in the right way, and the result is nearsightedness. 

While looking at a screen may be unavoidable, there are many lifestyle changes offered by experts and doctors that can help to reduce your screen time and protect your vision and your health, such as the 20-20-20 rule and keeping distance. Another important thing is to blink frequently, as you might not be aware that you are not blinking as much. 

As staring at screens will likely continue to play a great role in our lives, following this expert advice will give your eyes the rest they need and reduce long-term damage.  

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