Americans spend an average of ten hours every day in front of a digital screen of some kind.
We know that sounds like a lot.
However, when you stop to think of how often you’re on your tablet, work computer, personal laptop, and of course, your beloved smartphone, it starts to make sense.
As much digital devices make our lives easier, allow us to connect with friends, and even let us buy the things we need anywhere with an Internet connection, they can also cause some serious problems.
Have your eyes been giving you trouble lately?
All that time in front of digital screens could be to blame.
Read on to learn more about the potential issues that spending too much time in front of a screen could cause.
Tired of asking yourself, “Why do my eyes hurt?” after a long day at work?
You’re not alone. Over 30% of adults say that they experience serious eye pain and strain on a nearly daily basis.
It’s because of all the time we spend in front of digital screens.
These screens emit a specific type of light known as “blue light.” Unfortunately, this has been shown to cause retinal damage and eye twitching. This is especially true if, like most people, you check your digital screens at night.
Over time, too much exposure to this blue light can cause macular degeneration and may even lead to problems with your central vision. This means that you may struggle to see things that are directly in front of you.
When possible, limit your screen time after work. We also suggest you invest in blue light blocking stickers to put over power strips/buttons in your bedroom.
Even those tiny dots that show your phone or computer is charging or is on can impact your vision.
Plus, that pain doesn’t just exist in your eyes. Constant eye glare from blue light can also lead to debilitating headaches and migraines.
An Increased Risk of Developing Cataracts
It’s certainly frightening to think about, but unfortunately, too much exposure to blue light makes it much more likely that you will have cataracts when you get older.
We suggest familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of cataracts so that you can properly identify the issue and seek immediate treatment. Remember, even if you’re younger than 40, if you’ve spent an excessive amount of time in front of screens, you’re still at risk of developing cataracts.
In addition to increasing your risk of developing cataracts later in life, too much time staring at screens can impair your vision in general.
You may notice that you have trouble reading, that you get much closer to screens and books than you did in the past, or that words appear fuzzy and blurry.
So, what can you do to stop all this?
It sounds basic, but even just turning down the brightness of your screen and briefly glancing away from it once every 5-10 minutes goes a long way towards protecting your vision.
Development of Computer Vision Syndrome
Eyes looking down at a digital screen nearly all day, every day can lead to the development of what’s called Computer Vision Syndrome.
If you notice that your eyes water frequently or that your vision is blurry or unfocused when you look up from your computer, you may have it. Additional symptoms include dry eye, double vision, and extreme sensitivity to light. Your eyes may also itch, and you may find it difficult to see objects that are close to you.
Those experiencing Computer Vision Syndrome may also notice that they don’t blink as often as they did in the past. You’re supposed to blink up to 15 times per minute.
However, those with CVS will only blink about 8 times every minute.
If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, do whatever you can to reduce your time in front of your computer and head to an eye doctor immediately.
We know that all of this sounds incredibly frightening.
Plus, especially if your job requires you to be on your computer pretty much all of the time, it can be tough to know what you can do to protect yourself.
One of the best things you can invest in is a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
These look just like regular glasses, but the lenses have a special coating that filters out most of that damaging blue light. Not only will this protect your vision, but you may also notice that it’s a bit easier for you to read your screen.
Need Advice on How to Cut Down on Your Digital Screen Time?
While we understand that the information in this post is certainly frightening, we don’t want you to lose hope.
Even if you’ve already spent a lot of time in front of a digital screen, if you start reducing that time now, you may be able to reverse some of the damage. At least, you’ll definitely be able to preserve the vision you have left.
Looking for ways to make screens play less of a role in your life? Want to know more about how you can protect your vision?
Curious about the additional benefits of cutting down on your screen time?
Our blog is here to help.
Keep checking back in with us for more tips and tricks on how to protect your eyes and feel less chained to your screen. Your entire body will thank you — not just your eyes.