Whether you realize it or not, your smart phone might be damaging your eyes.
As a mother of four, I find myself increasingly concerned about the effects of smartphones on both myself and my children. We spend more time than ever staring at screens, whether we are talking about smartphones, tablets, computers at work, or TV screens. Nielsen reports that the average adult in the US spends 8 hours and 47 minutes every day on devices. So with all this time spent staring at screens, one starts to wonder how it is affecting our eyes.
Devices and tablets emit blue light, which isn’t filtered by the cornea and lens. This means that the light goes to the back of the eye, which could potentially cause retina damage or macular degeneration.
“Blue light frequency disrupts your natural circadian rhythm sleep cycle by suppressing your natural production of melatonin. It can cause strain because it reduces the amount of blinking you do, which can lead to dryness, red eyes, and ocular muscle strain,” according to Brent Kinney, an IT specialist.
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A good way to prevent the negative effects of blue light is to follow the 20/20/20 rule, which means you should look away from your screen every 20 minutes, even if you have to set an alarm to do so. The key is to look away for at least 20 seconds, and look at something that is at least 20 feet away. This will give your eyes regular breaks and allow them to refocus.
“The newest iPhone operating system employs a ‘night shift’ feature that literally cuts out the blue light frequency to cause less harm to your eyes during the night, so it doesn’t disrupt your sleeping cycle,” Kinney says.
There are also other light-reducing apps you can download to help combat the blue light effects.
The best thing you can do at the current moment to fight against long-term eye issues is to just police how much time you or your children spend in front of the screen, and employ the 20/20/20 rule as a habit.
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