How eyes are affected by screen time

In+the+United+States%2C+according+to+The+Vision+Council%2C+around+164++million+American+adults+wear+glasses.+They+also+predict+that+those+numbers+will+rise+by+2050+due+to+more+and+more+cases+for+nearsightedness.

Photo Credit: The Declaration Staff

In the United States, according to The Vision Council, around 164 million American adults wear glasses. They also predict that those numbers will rise by 2050 due to more and more cases for nearsightedness.

By: Caitlyn Abreu

Screen time has increased since COVID-19 and forced many people to stay home which could lead to many eyesight issues. This can cause eye fatigue, damage to retinal cells, age-related macular degeneration, and other effects. 

Increase to Screen Time

Since the start of COVID-19 many United States citizens created a new lifestyle. As the number of cases increased, many people had to stay home and adjust to their new lifestyle. Computers became a big factor in everyone’s lifestyle. People are sitting in front of a screen for many hours which is causing negative effects. Although computers help people stay connected with family, religion, work, school and friends it isn’t benefiting their health.  People use computers for many hours and can gain eye effects. 

Since the increase of home time occurred so did the increase in screen time. The only way society is able to connect is by doing everything through technology. People can attend religious service through video recordings, shop online, attend school, and work right through video calls. Technology is helping people try to do everything they used to without leaving their households. Although computers have been to be beneficial there are some negatives. 

Harsh Effects

There are harsh effects to eyes when staring at a screen for a certain amount of time. Colonia School Nurse Joanne Beebe explained, “Too much time looking at a computer screen can lead to eye strain, which can lead to headaches. (computer vision syndrome)” Over 27 percent of people experience headaches. Spending periods of time on computers can lead to headaches because of the glare on the screen, improper computer brightness, color, and poor lighting in the workspace. These factors can form computer vision syndrome (CVS). CVS is a digital eye strain that is related to problems caused by the prolonged use of digital devices.

During screen time many forget to take care of their eyes. Lights of the screen cause them to be dry since society forgets to blink when staring at a screen which can cause many other symptoms. Beebe said, “Eyes are affected because we forget to blink, causing dry uncomfortable eyes. Also, you feel when you are looking at a computer too long, then look away, it takes a while for your eyes to refocus.” Most eye symptoms are blurred, and double vision, headaches, and dryness, itching, redness, tearing, fatigue, discomfort.

Feelings on the Issue

Isabel Caetano, a student at Colonia High School stated, “ I have been feeling my eyes become very fatigued. After attending a few of my virtual classes for school my eyes become strained leaving me with a headache.” Symptoms depend on how long the digital device is used, how close an individual is to the screen, a digital device is at the wrong angle, glasses that aren’t suitable for viewing the distance of the digital device, and an individual’s underlying eye problems.

Many health care workers suggest spending less time on screens and taking frequent breaks. Beebe suggests to, “take two hours, then take a ten-minute break.” Doing this can give eyes a break. Eyes will feel less fatigue, and dry. Eyes need to rest and frequently blink. Not restricting yourself with screen time is able to cause short term effects. Nurse Beebe tells a few suggestions to avoid and treat the effects of screens. She states, “Taking breaks, adjusting the font size, keeping a light on in the room so you’re not in the dark, may help alleviate short-term effects.” Many students and adults should be practicing these procedures to avoid CVS. With the pandemic it’s hard for many people to practice these suggestions but should try so they don’t experience digital restrain. 

Unfortunately, many workers and students don’t have the opinions to decrease their screen time because computers are necessary for most work, classes, and tasks are all on computers. Whenever possible they should try. Their eyes need a break from the harshness they are experiencing. Many doctors and scientists inform the public to use blue light glasses to help eyes. This can prevent eye strain. Too much exposure to the blue light-the type of light causes eye strain- long-term effects like macular degeneration. The blue light is able to penetrate all the way to the retina, and damage light-sensitive cells in the retina. Since the start of the pandemic, people have no choice but to make technology part of their lifestyle. Hopefully, avoid all these effects that can occur through too much screen time.

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