In the 21st century digital communication and entertainment is everywhere. We all have or have seen televisions, computers, phones, gps’, or tablets in our lifetimes, in fact, if you are reading this now you are staring at one of those at this exact moment. For the most part, every age whether you’re a five year old playing on an ipad to a forty-year-old accountant using a computer everyday, we are constantly staring at digital screens. Are you aware that you could be gradually damaging your eyes every time you look at one of these screens?
From personal experience I have learned this to be true. At a young age i always had 20:20 vision. However, since we live in a modern digital word i always played on a computer, watched tv, played video games and used my phone a lot because thats just what we do now a days. I started to realize that my vision gradually began to decrease and it was harder to see in the distance. For example, in school the board got harder and harder to see every day i tried to take notes. I started questioning if this was normal or if i really was going blind. I decided to get my eyes checked out and it turns out that my eyes actually changed into 20:40 vision by the age of fifteen. This then led me to buy several pairs of expensive prescription glasses and question, “Why did this occur?” “What caused my vision to decrease so rapidly?” I started researching this topic and talked to several eye doctors and this is what i discovered.
Many doctors and scientists have researched this topic many times and have determined that the longer and more you stare at these screens, the worse your vision will get over time. You may have experienced this before if you have ever experienced any of the negatives below:
- Eye discomfort
- Itchy eyes
- Dry or watering eyes
- Burning sensations
- Changes in color perception
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty focussing
All of these things can occur from watching your television for too long. These are common short-term side effects that you could see immediately while watching any screen.
There are also several long term affects that these screens may have on you. There has been evidence that between 50-90% of people who sit in front of digital screens, like computers, have signs of visual problems within the years to come. This issue is very common and is permanent damage to the eyes so i researched several ways to prevent and cure these problems.
Many factors go into how these screens can damage your eyes. Sources say that by reducing the glare of the screen, lowering the brightness and positioning the computer about 20-28 inches away from your eyes may decrease your chances of receiving computer vision syndrome. There is also another rule of thumb to follow that some sources call the “20-20-20 rule.” This is that you should look away from your screen at least every twenty minutes, stare at something twenty feet away, for twenty seconds. This relaxing the eye muscles and allows your eyes to rest. Every time you watch any digital screen your eyes are constantly working by focusing on whatever it is you are watching. By following the 20-20-20 rule, your eyes won’t have those issues of being dried out, blurred or burning. This method could also help from getting those long term effects when you are older.
Where does science come in to this?
X Variable: The longitivtiy and method of how we watch our screens
Y Variable: Eye sight/ Vision
Experiment type: Experimental
Null Hypothesis: Digital screens have no effect on our vision.
Alternative hypothesis: Digital screens decrease our vision the longer we look at them.
Reverse Causation: A decrease in vision causes us to watch digital screens longer.
After first-hand experiencing and researching this topic, I would accept the alternative hypothesis and reject the null hypothesis because there is enough data supporting the idea that digital screens have short and long term negative effects on our vision. Reverse causation can be ruled out simply because it does not make sense. If a persons vision is decreasing, they do not desire to view a digital screen more. There is no correlation between the two. Like always, chance is always a possibility but is extremely unlikely because the studies strongly suggest that the alternative hypothesis is true.
Did you already damage your eyes and are worried you may never have 20-20 vision again? There are actually several ways to fix your eyes if you have already damaged them. The first and most common way is to just get glasses or contacts that can temporary improve your vision at ones own needs. However, if you aren’t looking to always put glasses or contacts in, then there is actually a way to improve your eye sight forever. There are several different types of eye surgery but the most popular happens to be LASIK. This is when the surgeon, depending on the preferred method, creates a flap on the cornea of ones eye. Laser eye surgery seems to be the more preferred method over the use of a blade but is slightly more expensive. Eye surgery can be a very successful way to cure ones eyesight: however, it is not 100% effective on every customer and has some risks.
Overall, computer vision syndrome along with all vision problems that occur from digital screens are extremely popular and keep increasing with the increasing modern technology. These issues are predicted to only get worse, due to the fact that in the 20th century, our society has and uses digital screens everyday and everywhere. Follow the steps discussed previously to prevent these chronic problems before you need to input lots of time and money to fix your eye sight.