Does staying on your phone for too long impair your vision?

by George Philip
Published: Last Updated on 0 comment

Multiple functions are performed by smartphones, which can be used for work, entertainment, study and, of course, to fulfill their original communication role. You can follow series on your phone, watch video lessons, play games, read books and spend hours swiping your Instagram feed or exchanging messages on WhatsApp. With so many activities gathered in a single device, the time with eyes very attentive to the screen can be very great. From this, here’s the question: does staying on the phone too long impair the vision?

When we think about the health of the eyes, the “blue light” is pointed out as villain when there are long periods of exposure to the source and, in addition, a relevant proximity of the screen to the face. Understand what “blue light” is and what are the possible harms related to the habit of spending hours on the screens.

What is blue light?

Blue light is included in the visible light spectrum. That is, noticeable by human eyes. With an approximate vibration between 380 and 500 nanometers, the wavelengths are shorter and therefore the frequency is higher.

According to UC Davis Health, the University of California’s academic health center, about a third of all visible light is considered “high-energy visible light” or “blue light.” The sun is the most significant source of “blue light”, but there are also artificial sources such as compact fluorescent lamps, LEDs, computer monitors and screens of tablets and smartphones.

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How can blue light impair vision?

Also according to UC Davis Health, continuous exposure to blue light from electronic device screens over time can cause damage to retinal photoreceptor cells and possibly accelerate macular degeneration.

According to the MSD Manual, macular degeneration is usually associated with old age. That is, it is more common for the condition to affect the older people. However, it can also be a consequence of intense and frequent exposure over the years to sources that emit blue light.

The macula is located in the center of the retina and allows the visualization of small details, such as facial features. When a deterioration of the macula occurs, the person may see blurred, distorted objects or with partial or total loss of color.

Other damage to eye health may also be associated with excessive exposure to blue light, emitted by the screens of some technological devices:

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  • Eye fatigue: the effort to maintain concentration for several hours to read or visualize what is on the screen can cause the sensation of “eye fatigue”. This is usually the first sign that time with screen focus is exaggerated.
  • Eye dryness: According to UC Davis Health, people tend to blink less when using digital devices, which contributes to eye dryness. At this point, it is worth noting that natural lubrication of the eyes is important to keep them clean and protected from injuries caused by microorganisms or inorganic particles.

How to reduce exposure to blue light emitted by screens?

For some people, for professional or academic reasons, it is inevitable to spend long periods of time keeping an eye on screens, especially on the computer screen. Therefore, some simple measures can help reduce the high level of exposure to blue light.

  • Do not keep your computer or smartphone screen too close to your face. If necessary, increase the font size or zoom in on the PC screen.
  • Those who study or work in front of the computer for many hours, can opt for glasses with blue light filter, in lenses with or without degree. Therefore, you can have them only with the objectives of providing greater visual comfort and avoiding excessive exposure to blue light.
  • Turn on the blue light filter on your smartphone. The feature increases the temperature of the colors on the screen and can receive different names, according to the manufacturer of the device.

In addition to the ophthalmologic problems addressed, the blue light emitted by the screens of mobile phones and computers can also affect the quality of your sleep or even inhibit it.

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