All that extra screen time is hurting your eyes

Using a computer or smart phone all day is bad for everyone's eyes, but there are some ways to help yourself
Photo: JESHOOTS.COM/Unsplash

First published at Knowable Magazine.

There’s no way around it: Since the pandemic began, people around the world, of all ages, are spending lots more time looking at screens. This is particularly true for children, as many schools shifted from the classroom to the computer. A survey conducted by Ipsos and the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition found that 44 percent of US children are using electronic devices for over four hours a day, more than double the rate prior to the pandemic.

Naturally, there are worries about the effects on physical activity, loneliness and sociological gaps. But in the US, I think not enough people are considering another potential side effect of living through screens: eye damage.

Simply put, our eyes aren’t built to read on screens. Several aspects — such as viewing angles and screen glare — force our eyes to work harder than they do while studying a printed page. That strain, plus the extensive close-up work that online school requires, may lead to eye problems, some of which can last a lifetime.