Can Too Much Screen Time Hurt Your Eyes?

Young woman looking at a laptop

Feel like you’re spending too much time in front of screens? Between working on a computer and looking at your phone in your free time, your eyes may feel a little sore.

This could be because of something called Computer Vision Syndrome. While the word “syndrome” may sound worrisome, it’s actually a treatable condition.

You don’t have to give up screens completely, either. Keep reading to find out if too much screen time can hurt your eyes!

Eye Strain

One of the main symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome is eye strain. With eye strain, you may feel like your eyes are strained after a long day working in front of a computer screen.

Our eyes weren’t designed to spend so much time staring at a light source. Concentrating on a screen for hours at a time will make your eyes feel sore.

If you spend a lot of time looking at screens, you may feel eye strain more often even when you aren’t looking at a screen. It can also cause neck pain and headaches.

Dry Eye

Another major symptom of Computer Vision Syndrome is dry eye. You can get dry eyes for many reasons. This could include prolonged contact use, sun damage, and even hormonal changes.

But spending a lot of time looking at a screen can cause or exacerbate pre-existing dry eye syndrome. This is because while we’re looking at screens, we tend not to blink as much as we should.

Blinking is an essential task in keeping your eyes moisturized and lubricated. When you don’t blink enough, your eyes can get dry, which can make them feel irritated and sore.

The 20-20-20 Rule

If you work on a computer for a living, reducing how much time you spend on your computer may not be possible. Reducing your screen time is one way to help treat Computer Vision Syndrome.

The good news is that it’s not the only way to treat Computer Vision Syndrome. There are other things you can do without giving up screen time.

First off, you can remember to blink more when you’re using a screen. But you can also follow the 20-20-20 rule when you’re spending hours at a time on a screen.

This rule states that for every 20 minutes of screen time, you look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. That’s it!

It doesn’t take long at all so it won’t cut into your productivity. In fact, you’ll probably become more productive because you won’t have to deal with the pain of eye strain.

Blue Light Myths

You may have heard that screens cause eye damage because they emit blue light. But there’s actually no evidence that the blue light from computer screens does any long term damage.

Looking at a screen too long can cause Computer Vision Syndrome, but it likely won’t lead to permanent damage. One source of blue light will, though, and that’s the sun.

Blue and UV light from the sun can damage your eyes. They can also increase your risk of glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye-related conditions.

That’s why you should protect your eyes from blue light by wearing sunglasses. When it comes to computer screens, you should worry more about habits to reduce eye strain.

If you’re worried about blue light, consider buying computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses. These glasses can help ease symptoms of computer vision syndrome by increasing contrast.

Wondering if you could be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome? Schedule an appointment at New England Eye Center in the greater Boston area now!

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