I am sure your parents have said to you a million times when you were a child, “do not sit so close to the TV, it will ruin your eyes!” Of course you had to accept your parents demand, but is this common claim actually true?
When the TV was first invented and became a regular household item, parents were concerned for their children’s eyesight, and that was actually for good reason. These television sets emitted levels of radiation, which, over extended exposure, could increase the risk of eye problems. Now a day, televisions are built to avoid any radiation, so this is no longer a problem. So why are parents still saying that sitting close to a TV can cause eye problems?
Well, some people are skeptic over harmful emissions still coming from the TV. Another perspective is from a controversial study of Alaskan Eskimos done in the 1960s. This study showed that nearsightedness was more common in the younger generations of Eskimos, or the generations who had been exposed to modern civilization. This led many experts to claim that environmental factors affect our vision, like watching too much television, staring at a computer or cell phone screen.
This is just one study that not everyone believes, but more recently there have been more studies done. “Results from a survey done by Chinese health officials show that almost 60 percent of students in primary and middle school are nearsighted”(source 1). Studies like this have shown the cases of myopia, or nearsightedness, higher in Asia, but experts have noticed that there has been an increase in kids worldwide becoming nearsighted, although unsure of the cause. According to Dr. Roy S. Chuck, “published National Institutes of Health data for the past 30 years find that the incidence of myopia in the U.S. has almost doubled from 24 percent to 42 percent.” Although there are many factors pointing to the correlation of increased electronic use and increased population with nearsightedness, there has been no concrete evidence of the relationship being causal. Chuck says, “although there is no direct evidence, there does exist highly suggestive laboratory and clinical data, and it just makes sense.”
So, there is no connection between TV and permanent eye damage or nearsightedness yet, but it is proven that staring at screens does cause eyestrain. Eyestrain is only a temporary condition, and can be fixed easily. Eyestrain can cause headaches, tearing, dry eyes, light sensitivity, and many others symptoms. To get rid of the strain and fatigue, simply just rest you eyes. To avoid straining your eyes from screens, give your eyes a few minutes of a break every once and a while, by taking them off any TV, phone, or laptop screen.
After researching, I was surprised to find a lack of information on if technology has really caused nearsightedness to increase, but in a few years, I am sure this will be possible to prove. Kids begin using electronics earlier and earlier, and this might be the proof scientists need in order to figure out technology’s affects on eyesight.