Are You Having Too Much Screen Time?
Digital devices could be harming your physical well-being.
Nowadays, it’s completely normal to stare at a screen for most of the day. Whether you're working in an office, watching Netflix or scrolling through your Instagram feed, modern life increasingly revolves around technology.
However, when we consider the dangers of excessive tech use, we often hear about how it affects our happiness, relationships and self-worth - not our physical well-being. Today, evidence increasingly points towards the fact that using screens frequently, and for long periods of time, could be problematic for our health.
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Here are three common physical symptoms of too much screen time:
1. Eye strain
If you are using your screen for hours on end, then you’ve probably experienced eye strain. That’s because our eye muscles have to constantly focus and relax to read pixels on screens. Unlike reading a book, the screen adds contrast, flicker, and glare, which makes our eyes work even harder. Looking at screens stress the ciliary muscle in the eye which is why you may sometimes get headaches or feel tension.
2. Sleep cycle disruption
Blue light emitted from digital LED screens can make it harder for you to get a good night’s sleep. Blue light tells your body when you need to be awake. It’s why looking at screens during the evening can interfere with the production of melatonin - the chemical responsible for helping you sleep. As a result, your sleep cycle - also known as circadian rhythm - can be knocked out of balance, which makes it more difficult to get deep restorative sleep.
Disruption in your sleep schedule can impact your focus and concentration the next day. Frequent poor quality sleep has been linked with more serious issues such as increased stress levels, raised blood pressure and diabetes.
3. Risk of macular degeneration
High-energy visible light, particularly the 450nm wavelength is hard your eyes for several reasons. Firstly, our eyes aren’t really designed to filter high energy blue light: “we are being exposed to blue light continuously, and the eye’s cornea and lens cannot block or reflect it” says Dr. Ajith Karunarathne from University of Toledo. As a result, when you look at screens, blue light penetrates your eyes, all the way to the back of the retina, which can cause damage.
Consider how UV light - the neighbour of blue light on the visible light spectrum - can damage your skin and cornea. Wearing blue light blocking glasses when you use a digital device is comparable to wearing sun cream or sunglasses when you’re exposed to UV rays from the sun. Furthermore, some studies show that exposure to blue light from digital devices may cause macular degeneration and lead to vision problems in later life. That’s because over time blue light may cause cumulative damage to your retina - and, in a worst case scenario, that can lead to macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
So, how can you reduce the negative effects of screen time?
Taking regular breaks or going for a walk can give your eyes some much needed relaxation. But, if like most people, you spend your days in front of a screen for work, investing in a pair of blue light blocking glasses can alleviate the negative effects of screen use and leave your eyes feeling more relaxed.
LUMES blue light blocking glasses are specially engineered to filter out high intensity blue light up to 420 nm and reduce glare. The lenses are virtually clear and color perception is not noticeably affected. They can help your eyes feel more relaxed, protect your long-term vision and also improve your sleep schedule.