How blue light from your smartphone may be hurting your eyes
Your alarm goes off in the morning and the first thing you do is check Instagram or Facebook on your phone. Then you’ll head off to work where you will stare at a computer for the next eight hours. While you’re at work your probably making plans to go out for dinner with your friends or significant other. So you check your phone to find an Italian restaurant in Mississauga. Or you’ll go home and watch the NBA playoffs or a few episodes of your latest Netflix obsession.
How do your eyes feel? Most of us spend a good chunk of the day staring at screens. So how is all that screen time affecting our eye health? What effect is all this screen time having on our eyesight?
No one knows for sure. The answer isn’t so clear. Some doctors worry that exposure to blue light from phones and other electronic devices may have a negative impact on our eyes. According to Anam Qureshi, MD, clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone in New York City, “blue light is concerning because the corner and the lens don’t filter it out, so it goes right to the back of our eye.” Janelle Routhier, OD, a Dallas-based optometrist, has found that “staring at a screen for long periods of time can lead to digital eyestrain - also known as computer vision syndrome.” According to Dr. Routhier, symptoms may include red, tired eyes, dry eyes, headaches, blurry vision, and trouble focusing on one thing.
What can you do to protect yourself?
1. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something that’s at least 20 feet away.
2. Maintain a comfortable working distance at the computer and avoid hunching closer and closer.
3. If you’re using a phone, keep the screen far away as possible. The greater the distance your phone is from your eye, the less eye strain it is likely to cause.
4. Ask your optometrist about the best type of glasses for your digital viewing needs. You will benefit from eyewear specifically prescribe for electronic devices. Also, ask about glasses that block blue light to reduce your exposure to HEV light when using electronic devices.
5. Go outside and play more!