Health care

What are the dangers of staring at screens for too long?

In the age of technology, we’re constantly bombarded with screens nearly everywhere we go.

Screens are in our homes, our workplaces and even in our pockets.

Research by A Life of Productivity states that Americans spend 43 per cent of their waking hours in front of screens and this is only the average.

So, the question is, how much is too much screen time and what are the effects?

Effects of staring at screens for too long

According to the experts at House Call Doctor, there are many short-term and potentially long-term effects of staring at a screen for too long. These include:

    • Strained eyes:If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, your eyes might feel tired or dry – this is a sign of strained eyes. Other signs include headaches, eye discomfort, itchiness, blurry vision and a hard time focusing. When you stare at a screen for too long, you sometimes blink less, which decreases the amount of moisture in your eyes.
    • Decrease in productivity and creativity: Too much time spent in front of screens can affect your mental productivity. Screens limit the amount of boredom you feel, so you instead become distracted by the endless void of a mobile phone, tablet or computer.
    • Bad posture: When you’re looking at a screen, you can sometimes get into the bad habit of poor posture. Slouching for long periods of time can cause back, shoulder and neck pain.
  • Text claw: This unofficial term for cramping and soreness in the fingers or hand can occur from holding or using your phone or tablet for too long.
  • Anxiety symptoms: Communicating through screens has changed the way a person connects to another and can cause people to experience social anxiety when facing someone in the flesh.

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

As manypeople tend to have jobs which require them to stare at a computer for many hours of the day, there is now a syndrome affecting many adultscalled Computer Vision Syndrome.

According to Web MD, research shows approximately 50 to 90 per cent of workers who use computers have some symptoms of the syndrome.

These symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dry, red eyes
  • Irritated eyes
  • Neck and/or back pain
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Double vision.

If you’re showing any of the above signs as a result of working at a computer, it’s recommended to make a few simple changes in your day.

Examples include:

  • Changing the lighting of the room you typically work in to reduce glare. This can include moving your monitor or closing blinds.
  • Taking regular breaksfrom looking at the screen. It’s suggested to look away from your screen every 20 minutes.