Is Social Media Damaging Your Eyes?
Over-use of digital devices can cause macular degeneration. Opticians have spoken out against over-exposure to screens on devices such as smartphones and tablets. A recent survey has shown that under-25s check their phone at least 32 times a day, and many people report feeling unsettled and anxious if separated from their phone. Most adults spend as much as seven hours a day in front of a screen. As a culture we spend a vast amount of time checking social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, and some see this as an unhealthy form of addiction.
Negative Effects of Blue Light
The blue light emissions (also known as HEV or high-energy visible light) from screens are responsible for damage to the eyes, and modern small-screen devices tend to be held much closer to the face than is recommended. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/26780069/smartphone-overuse-may-damage-eyes-say-opticians for a more detailed discussion of this.
Deterioration of Vision
It’s sometimes referred to as digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome, and there are a number of early warning signs which if treated early could save your sight. Symptoms such as dry eyes, watery eyes, headaches and light sensitivity can be early warning signs of permanent damage or macular degeneration. This can eventually lead to blindness. Short-sightedness can also be caused by working on screens too close to the face.
How to Protect Your Eyes from Screen Damage
In order to avoid straining the eyes, opticians recommend taking frequent breaks from screens and making sure you blink enough whilst using screens. It is also crucial to get your eyes tested regularly to pick up any early signs of damage.
Opticians can take the strain off their patients when it comes to remembering their eye check, however. Many now use optician software to automatically recall and remind patients to attend an appointment. Another advantage of some specialist optician software is that it contains built-in lifestyle questionnaires which could help practitioners to identify patients particularly at risk from the effects of extensive screen time.
Millennial Generation Are High-Risk
A report by the Vision Council found that 37% of Millennials (born after 1980) were spending more than nine hours a day on screens. This trend is fuelled by social media addiction and is thought to be responsible for the worldwide epidemic of short-sightedness.