Every day, teens check their phones for social media, use their laptops and desktops for work, and watch Netflix for entertainment. Children watch TV and play on tablets. However, staring at screens all day can lead to digital eye strain. Even if you do not know what that means, I bet you’ve experienced it.
Digital eye strain is the physical discomfort that you feel when you look at TVs, phones, tablets, computers, or other screens for more than two hours at a time, according to Lenscrafters. If you use electronics for more than two hours a time, you probably have experienced digital eye strain at some point. It can cause many symptoms such as sore, tired, burning or itching eyes, watery or dry eyes, blurred or double vision, headaches, increased sensitivity to light, difficulty concentrating, or feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open. While researchers are still studying digital eye strain, many think it can potentially cause permanent damage and ruin your eyesight.
Some researchers believe that digital eye strain can also lead to you needing glasses, which can cost up to hundreds of dollars. Every hour you spend on your phone could result in worse eyesight and more money gone.
However, most people don’t even know they have digital eye strain, and the ones that do don’t think it's a big deal.
“I normally keep my screen at low brightness so I don't have that problem,” Ciara Warner, a 7th grade student at John D. O’Bryant, said.
“I know students use the Internet, But I don’t know if it’s a problem or not,” said Ms. Yara Cardoso-Barbosa, a teacher at O’Bryant. “As a parent, I want to be able to limit the average time people use technology so nothing bad happens.”
The hard question is why do people use technology even though they probably know it'll be bad for their eyes? The truth is, the Internet is so connected to our lives that we have no choice but to use it.
“YouTube is the most interesting thing about the internet because it is a very wide video sharing platform that has a wide variety of videos to choose from and watch,” said a student at O’Bryant. “And technology is good because a lot of people use it for school. The Internet makes learning a lot easier.”
If you feel like you’re suffering from digital eye strain, here are some tips. Lower the brightness on any screens you use. When your phone or laptop has low battery, don’t charge it to encourage yourself to use it less. Blink your eyes often. Consider getting computer glasses from a company like Foster Grant or Felix Grey so screens will be less painful to you. And follow the 20/20/20 rule, take a 20 second break from your screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away.
“I see students using phones every day,” An O’Bryant nurse, Debbie Kerr, said. “Technology's all over the place.”
It is, and if you think you have digital eye strain, be sure to get your eyes checked.