Even after knowing its harmful effects, one finds it extremely difficult to keep that cell phone aside. But a new study has found that our smartphones may be doing more damage than we’d previously suspected, specifically to our eyes.
The report published in BMC Opthalmology revealed that children who spend more time on their phones have more symptoms of dry-eye disease. And when those children went without their phones for a whole month, their symptoms were reduced.
Dry-eye disease is a condition that occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough tears, which results in eyes becoming red, swollen and irritated. Usually associated with older people, specialists believe it is under-diagnosed in children.
When we stare at screens, we blink less which means our tear film evaporates faster and our risk of dry-eye disease increases.
Office workers who use computers throughout the day have several challenges to overcome for eye comfort. First, the distance to the screen may be a problem for those workers over 50 due to an inability to easily refocus to the proper distance. Then, with increasingly large screens, users may need to scan the screen from top to bottom, and left to right, while focusing on the content. The result, depending on height of the screen compared to eye level, is that their eyes may need to be opened wider than average. Finally, the environment in the office is dry, due to air conditioning. Also, because of paying attention to a single focal plane of the screen, the natural blinking rate slows down. The result of all these factors is less blinking, faster drying out of the tear film, and worsening symptoms of dry eye disease. Ensuring that all layers of our natural tear film are healthy is the best way to ensure eye comfort.