How Prolonged Use of Modern Technology Can Affect Your Vision
Most of us would say our use of technology is regular but not excessive; but how true is this? An incredible one third of people spend most of their waking hours (9+ hours) on a digital device, and 60% of people in the UK spend five hours or more with their technology. It’s a problem in the US too, with the average 8-18 year old spends 7.5 hours a day on a digital device.
It’s easy to understand how this happens – millions of people spend their working day looking at a computer, then spend much of their breaks on their smartphone. When they got home from work there’s TV screens, laptops, tablets and more smartphone use, meaning the hours spent looking at a screen quickly add up.
So what does this do to our eyes? How does modern technology affect our vision? That’s the subject of this new infographic from Shade Station:
Some of the statistics are startling; 61% of US adults experience digital eyestrain from electronic devices, that’s nearly 2 out of every 3 people using modern technology on a regular basis suffering negative effects from their time with screens. Similarly, opticians in the UK and the US have reported a worrying 35% increase in the amount of people with advancing myopia since the launch of smartphones.
So what causes these issues? The brightness and high contrast of modern lit screens plays a large part, as prolonged reading of dark print on a bright background can lead to spasms of the muscles at the temple, leading to tension headaches. Another problem is looking at something in the near distance for long periods without a break – looking at something close up causes our blink rate to decrease, which can lead to dry eyes, and also causes the eyes to converge slightly. This is fine in the short term, but regular, long sessions looking at a screen can strain the eye muscles, leading to the appropriately named ‘digital eye strain’.
Luckily most of these issues can be avoided simply by taking regular breaks from the screen, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Remembering to take a few minutes from the screen every hour can save you from headaches, dry eyes and muscle strains, and can reduce your chances of developing AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and myopia (short-sightedness).