Does looking at your phone affect your eyesight?

These days, people are ALWAYS on their phones.  Walking down the street, sitting on the bus, at the dinner table, always texting.  I couldn’t help but think, is this hurting my eyesight?  I already have bad eyes, but I have noticed them get increasingly worse.  So, I decided to check it out.

From my studies, I have learned that looking at one’s phone can strain the eyes immensely.  This happens especially when reading small fonts or browsing the internet for long hours at a time.  Studies show that if you already wear glasses, looking at phones can make it worse for you.  They have been said to have to make up for the strain from the phone on the eyes.  Both of them straining together is never good.

reduce-eye-strain-when-using-smartphones.w654

Besides headaches, irritation, eye dryness, and redness, this can lead to more serious things like myopia.  Myopia is near-sightedness, meaning the eye can not bend light the right way to see things clearly.  This can happen most commonly to people who read books or long texts on their phones.  They are bound to get a headache eventually from the strain.

This is all short-term, but what about long-term?  Phones give off HEV light, known as blue light.  This blue light is defined by Digital Trends as “that portion of the visible light spectrum that comprises light with the shortest wavelengths, which carry the greatest potential to damage living tissue.” (Hill 2015)  This means it is very dangerous to living tissue currently in the eyes.  This HEV light can damage the tissue in the retina, possibly causing permanent eye damage, but it has not yet been confirmed.

Zombie business woman holding dead technology

2014 study found that the average US citizen spends 7.4 hours looking at screens throughout the day.  An average night of sleep is 7.7 hours.  See the problem here?  But considering the increase in technology within the last 10 years, it is not surprising that Americans spend this much time on their phones.

Although it seems almost impossible to cut down on looking at your phone, one way is by using the 20/20/20 rule.  This means taking 20 seconds of relaxing after every 20 minutes and turning your eyes to something 20 feet away.  You would be surprised to see how much better you feel after trying this out!

One experiment that could be done would be getting 20 adults to use their phones regularly and count how many hours they are on their phones.  Then the next week take away these devices entirely, and record their feeling after it was over.  See if these adults feel any physical relief.  Who knows, maybe it will be a significant difference!

Works Cited:

  1. http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/does-your-phone-damage-your-eyes-an-experts-advice/
  2. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/Is-your-smartphone-affecting-your-eyesight/articleshow/29346618.cms
  3. http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/myopia.htm
  4. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/myopia-nearsightedness/
  5. http://www.visionmonday.com/business/labs/article/protecting-eyes-from-bad-blue-light-vm-090913/
  6. http://kpcbweb2.s3.amazonaws.com/files/85/Internet_Trends_2014_vFINAL_-_05_28_14-_PDF.pdf?1401286773
  7. https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/sites/default/files/VC_DigitalEyeStrain_Report2015.pdf
  8. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/most-americans-suffer-from-digital-eye-strain/
  9. http://www.littlegatepublishing.com/2014/01/digitaleyedamage/
  10. http://smartphones.wonderhowto.com/how-to/reduce-eye-strain-when-using-smartphones-0161648/

11 thoughts on “Does looking at your phone affect your eyesight?

  1. Bowen Wang

    I saw your post accidentally and got immediate attention by the content. Yes, in nowadays who don’t use their cells all the time? Phones are getting smarter and people are simply more and more addicted to their devices. Generally speaking not only phones but we are using more and more other devices with background lights such as iPad, TV, computers so on and so forth. Actually posting these comments and posts may potentially cause Myopia too since we need to spent quiet a period of time steering on the screen.
    Myopia is getting quiet general in the world. About 1 in three people in the Western world and 80% of people in Asia are myopia, based on an article published on Independent. Both of my parents have Myopia, my dad started wearing glasses since his early 20s and my mom almost have the same experience. Both of them said that they started to see things blur after reading too much, especially under weak light environment. What killings is that myopia seems related to genetics. There are up to 24 genes could trigger myopia in human being’s life cycle.
    Till now it is still not decided whether genetic is the causation of short sight, nor how much roles it plays in causing myopia. While certainly other elements such as environment, eye-sight using habit, even education level and sleeping position could be related to myopia in the future of one’s life.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientific-breakthrough-in-study-of-the-genetics-of-myopia-8489016.html

  2. Rebecca Danielle Schneider

    This is really relevant topic for college students and teenagers in general. Every time I walk to class, kids have their heads buried in their cell phones (I am often guilty of this too). I found this study to be very interesting but I think there could have been stronger results if we were provided with a credible source and not just a statistic. However, I like the creativity in your experiment idea! Since 7.4 hours is a significant amount of time to look at one’s phone, I think it’s important we investigate other confounding variables that could affect this such as age range or what the phones are being used for. Your blog sparked a lot of curiosity in me, so I looked online and found an extremely interesting and unique study done by two researchers at University of Michigan, who observed college students, and came to the conclusion that cell phone use is literally contagious!

  3. Patrick Hryckiewicz

    I found this blog very interesting. My parents always used to tell me that I was ruining my eyesight by sitting close to a TV screen, or my phone. But, when I asked my optometrist, he said that you can’t ruin your vision just by staring at a screen for too long. It is scary to think about it though. Smartphones haven’t been around for long enough for us to see what effects they could have on our eyesight, or other parts of our body. This website says that cell phones can have other negative effects to our health as well. For example, it can have social effects when people ignore the people around them, can cause joint issues, and spread germs. The thing is, so many people are very dependent on their phones, so I can see it would be very hard to people to stop using them, but, it all depends on the person.

  4. Marisa Rose Defilippo

    This topic is extremely interesting, and I feel like it is extremely relatable to the majority of our generation in specific. For me, I never really think of the long term effects that extensive phone use could potentially have on me, but your blog post has definitely been eye opening! It was interesting to read about how ‘blue light’ causes such damage, because blue light from cell phones can also be responsible for difficulty in sleeping if you use your phone before bed. I found this link below to be very informative and I hope you enjoy it as well!

    https://gigaom.com/2014/09/01/what-is-the-blue-light-from-our-screens-really-doing-to-our-eyes/

  5. Adam David Mccullough

    I wonder if this is going to be similar to the smoking issue where we do not see the true effects on our eyes until many years down the road. Think about it, obsessive cell phone use has only emerged within the past five to ten years. Thus, if staring at cell phones cause more serious eye issues later in life we would not see the effects for many years to come. I think the health risks of cell phones is something that should be more deeply investigated because cell phones are so prominent in our lives.

  6. Yuxing Cai

    I think your topic is really interesting. For student like us, we need to know the effect that spending too much time on phone. However, I think we cannot just said looking on phone will affect our eyesight because this issue is vary from people to people. My sister is always hanging around with her phone and electronic products, but she still have the 1.0 eyesight for both of her eyes. So I think this question should be interpret into “Does looking at your phone increase the chance that you have a bad eyesight?”

  7. Shannon Elizabeth Kress

    This topic is so interesting because of how relevant it is for our generation. Personally, I think that getting people, especially teenagers, to look at their phones less is not practical. If that is true, then shouldn’t we try our best to protect our eyes in other ways. This site shows how we can do that. It would be really interesting to see a study done as our generation gets to be 45-55 years old, and see if all the time we have spent on our phones makes our aging eyes even worse compared to our parents’ generation.

  8. Wayson Wu

    Spending large amount of time on using phones definitely will cause eye damaging and it is nearly impossible to stop people from using them. But I was thinking about some extensions such as some kind of screen protectors may be useful to reduce the damage. And I found out this screen protector is able to filter out most of the damage on the retina.

  9. Lunan Qiu

    It is really good to know 20/20/20! And I will definitely try it ( if I can remember)
    Looking at phone for a long time has caused eye dryness and redness and make me feel very uncomfortable. But I found it is not so uncomfortable after using phone for a long time. I mean, I feel very very uncomfortable about two years ago when I began to use iphone frequently. But now, this feeling is not as strong as before. I think maybe our eyes also evolved and adapted to the changes.

  10. Rebecca Danielle Schneider

    This is really relevant topic for college students and teenagers in general. Every time I walk to class, kids have their heads buried in their cell phones (I am often guilty of this too). I found this study to be very interesting but I think there could have been stronger results if we were provided with a credible source and not just a statistic. However, I like the creativity in your experiment idea! Since 7.4 hours is a significant amount of time to look at one’s phone, I think it’s important we investigate other confounding variables that could affect this such as age range or what the phones are being used for. Your blog sparked a lot of curiosity in me, so I looked online and found an extremely interesting and unique study done by two researchers at University of Michigan, who observed college students, and came to the conclusion that cell phone use is literally contagious!

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