Is my cell phone harmful to my health? It’s a question that none us wants to think about but everyone needs to consider. Known health risks caused by smartphone use include neck issues, thumb strain, and the dangers of distracted driving (done either by you or someone else). But does looking at your phone hurt your eyes?
Yes, smartphones can cause eye strain. In fact, it’s predicted that 2 out of every 3 Americans will experience eye strain caused by excessive phone use. But don’t panic—taking the right steps today can drastically reduce the risk of having smartphone-related eye problems in the future.
How Smartphones Can Harm Your Eyes
Why does looking at your phone hurt your eyes? Because it’s a habit. The average person looks at their smartphone 150 times or more per day. All that staring can have a range of negative effects on your eye health. If you’re not actively avoiding eye strain, excessive time on your phone can lead to blurred vision, dry eyes, sore eyes, headaches, and even insomnia. There are several reasons why eye strain caused by smartphones use can go on to create even more serious eye problems:
- Blinking Less Often: Humans aren’t meant to pay attention to how much they blink (a single blink lasts only 0.4 seconds, after all). Even so, blinking is important for maintaining healthy eyes. Blinking helps your eyes redistribute moisture, keeping them from getting dry, and also acts as a natural defense against excessive exposure to outside elements like dust and sunlight. Your eyes are supposed to blink about 15 times per minute. That number goes down by half when you’re stare at your smartphone, giving your eyes much less time to recover.
- Squinting: You may not mind reading smaller text on a smartphone screen, but your eyes sure do. Squinting at on-screen text and videos overworks your muscles around your eyes, neck, and shoulders, and is is a major cause of eyestrain and blurred vision.
- Excessive Glare: Our eyes don’t like to stare directly at light for too long, so the glare from the light of your cell phone screen can cause serious eye strain. Checking your emails or social media in the dark, before or after bedtime, only makes the situation worse. In fact, your smartphone-induced health problems may not end with eye strain. Research has shown that spending time on your cell phone before bed can reduce melatonin production, making it harder for you fall or stay asleep.
How To Protect Your Eyes While Using a Smartphone
Smartphones are essential to our lives and, to many people, far worth their health risks. That said, there are some simple steps that anyone can take to reduce their risk of smartphone-related eye damage:
- Turn Down the Glare: Chances are, your smartphone’s brightness setting is way higher than necessary. Reducing the glare from your screen will make phone use easier on your eyes and can also help you conserve battery life. Simply access your phone’s settings and adjust the brightness to a lower, more comfortable level.
- Adjust Your Text Size: If you have to squint to read on your phone, try making the default font larger so that your on-screen text will be bigger and easier to see
- Remember to Blink: It may sound strange, but reminding yourself to blink while using your smartphone can reduce the amount of strain you place on your eyes. By blinking more often, you’re helping your eyes retain moisture, repel irritants, and remain refreshed all day.
- Take Breaks: This is our most important tip. It is also the hardest to follow. Taking breaks from your smartphone can drastically reduce the amount of strain placed on your eyes. For every 20 minutes spent on your smartphone, spend at least 20 seconds looking away. During those 20 seconds, do your best to stare at something in the distance (20 feet away or more).
Protect Your Eyesight With Houston’s Best Eye Surgeons
Whether your vision problems start or go beyond your smartphone usage, your best move is to go to Eye Center of Texas, workplace of the top LASIK surgeons in Houston. We have the answers to questions like “which eye surgery is best for me?” or “how do I prevent cataracts?” and know best how to start you down your path towards protected and improved vision. Eye Center of Texas offers a range of surgical and non-surgical treatments, including Houston LASIK (recommended by over 275 Houston eye doctors!), cataract removal, PRK, and more. Explore your options and schedule your appointment at Eye Center of Texas today!