How Technology Affects Your Eyes

The average number of hours one spends on a day reading an e-reader, typing on laptops, texting on smartphones or playing on tablets are worrying in regards to your eye health. Nevertheless, there aren’t any studies that show how constant technology use causes permanent vision damage. But staring at bright screens for long can lead to smaller scale problems. Technology these days is something that we can’t avoid because nearly everything we do revolves around some type of technology. This technology use can lead to eye irritation, redness and dry eyes. Problems brought by technology don’t only affect adults, kids too are becoming more exposed to technology either at home or at school. Below is how technology affects your eyes.

1. Headaches

Overexposure to digital devices can cause headaches. This comes third as the most common negative effects of technology on the eyes. Staring at extremely bright screens with dark backgrounds for hours causes tension headaches because it makes the eye to work harder to focus.

It’s clear that technology makes work easier, however, it’s important you step away from it once in a while. Also, you should adjust the brightness of your device and check the distance at which you view them to reduce the negative effects to your eyes.

2. Retina Damage

Out of every five Americans, four of them use phones as their alarm clocks. This gives them an excuse to carry their phones into the bedroom. Retina damage results from direct exposure to blue light emitted, especially at night, by LED devices. It can lead to macular degeneration and damage your central vision (the ability to see things right in front of you). As you age, your retina becomes more sensitive to damage which leads to the development of age-related macular degeneration. Avoid the use of a phone or any other electronic gadget in the bedroom. If possible, adopt the traditional alarms.

3. Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) was initially used to refer to employees who spend most of their hours in front of computers. Today the symptoms associated with CVS affects millions around the world regardless of their occupation. The symptoms of CVS include:

  • Eyestrain.
  • Double vision.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia).
  • Focusing difficulties.
  • Headaches.

These symptoms are disabling and can range from mild to severe. Staring at your screens for long can increase the chances of CVS symptoms. Some of the noticeable reactions of CVS symptoms are:

Decreased blinking

Under normal conditions, the eyes blink 12 to 15 times a minutes. Whenever your brain is focused on what’s in your screens, you forget to blink and the count can go down to seven to eight blinks a minute. Blinking allows a thin layer of tears to spread over your eyes, so less blinking means your eyes will not be well lubricated which can cause sore or dry eyes.

Use of Unfavorable Angles

When staring at the screen, your eyes become more exposed to the air’s drying effect because most of the time you will be focused straight ahead. This is totally different than when reading a printed text because your eyes will be focused down meaning your eyelid will cover more of your eye. You become visually fatigued and as a result of unfavorable lid positioning, you’re left with dry eyes.

Close Focus

Often when reading a text from your phone, you’ll find yourself holding the phone closer to your eyes than printed material. Research shows that nearly everyone holds their phones 12.5 to 14 inches from their eyes while the average distance that one holds a printed text is 16 inches. Your eyes at this point must adjust to focus at close range to see the text from your phone which tires out the eyes.

4. Possible Cataracts

More research is needed in this area although some doctors are suggesting there might be a connection between blue light and cataracts. Some doctors have observed patients in their mid-30s with eyes as cloudy from cataracts as people in mid-70s. However, this isn’t a conclusive proof that exposure to blue light causes cataracts, but it deserves further investigation.


You might not realize it, but daily exposure to technology could lead to eye health issues. In case you learn that your eyes are becoming dry after watching the TV or after using your phone, then you could be developing an eye problem which shouldn’t be ignored. One way to deal with the issue is by taking breaks in between movies and blinking more often. If this doesn’t solve the problem, then you should visit an eye care professional to check if you could be developing a more serious eye condition.

All images by Pixabay


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