'The moment you wake up, you look at your phone to turn off your alarm and check your texts, news, emails, etc. Then, you wake up and get ready for work where you'll stare at your computer screen for another 8 hours. After work, you wind down and turn on the television to watch your favorite show. Then, you hop into bed and begin scrolling through social media on your phone until you knock out only to repeat a similar process the next day.' Does this scenario sound familiar?
According to a study, the average worker spends about 1,700 hours a year in front of the computer and that's just during work hours. With more people staying at home due to the pandemic, most Americans seem to be staring at screens all day. So, what are the potential consequences? What steps can we take to care & protect our eyes?
We weren't born to stare at bright screens all day, so as a result our eyes & health are suffering. When we look at a screen for long periods of time, we tend not to blink - blinking helps keep our eyes lubricated and comfortable. It is estimated that 58% of people who work on the computers experience Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Neck & back pain
Too much screen time may also cause long term vision damage. In some countries, it has been noted that the cases of nearsightedness have almost doubled, which may be due to the increased screen time. The light that the screen emits, is similar to the colors in sunlight, which can also negatively disrupt our circadian rhythm. How so?
When the sun sets, our bodies product the hormone melatonin which helps regulate our circadian to help us feel sleepy and fall asleep. However, when we use our screens at night, the blue light from the screens can disrupt this process, making it harder for us to fall asleep or get good sleep.
In another study, those who spent few hours before bed reading e-books produced 55% less melatonin than those who read printed copies. They were also more awake before bed, had a harder time falling asleep, and were more tired in the morning. So what can you do to protect your eyes?