“Don’t watch TV for too long, don’t sit near the TV, don’t play the game for too long”, you would probably have heard these words from your parents when you are in front of digital screens. But Can screens really damage your eyes?
There are dozens…dozens of research on this topic but there is no good evidence that staring at the computer can cause permanent eye damage. However, at the very least they can cause temporary annoyances like headaches.
If you stare at a screen for too long you may find yourself feeling what’s known as digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. The most common symptoms are blurred vision, headache, and pain in the neck and shoulders. Fortunately, the symptoms of digital eye strain go away when you give your eyes a proper rest and studies haven’t shown any long-term effects.
The doctors recommend that if you are suffering regularly and at the same time if you want to avoid that pain, you take a 20-second break from your screen every 20-minutes and stare at the
But there is another way that screens could harm you and that’s through exposure to blue light that can kill cells in your eyes. Blue light wavelength is short which also means it has high energy enough that blue light can damage and eventually kill the cells in your eye’s retina.
The light reacts with certain molecules knocking off bits of them and creating reactive oxygen species or ROSs which will bond with almost anything. They can cause so much damage that cells eventually destroy themselves in a process called apoptosis. Even though we know that high-intensity blue light definitely causes retinal cell death it doesn’t tell us much about the real-life dangers of screens.
There was one 2017 study that looked at the effects of low-intensity blue light at 3 different wavelengths emitted from common types of screens. Specifically they found that blue light at 449 nanometers causes the largest increase in those harmful are ROSs but light with a slightly longer wavelength of four 470 nanometers didn’t do much damage that 21 nanometer change in wavelength might not seem like a lot but the difference means that the two colors of light have different amounts of energy. The 470 nanometer light which was a sort of turquoise just didn’t have enough energy to effectively break apart molecules.
There are many things you can do to optimize your working conditions to better suit your eyes. Here are some of them:
- Take regular breaks.
- Position the computer screen properly.
- Clean your computer screen regularly.
- Adjust for adequate lighting.