Put Down Your Smartphone


Are you excited about the brand-new app that you just downloaded to your smartphone? It might be fun now, but be careful: Too much screen time may be harmful to your eyes.

The problem, says optometrist Sarah Hinkley, comes from the blue light that LED (Light Emitting Diode) screens emit. Staring at a smartphone leaves young people especially vulnerable to eye strain, headaches, and dry eyes. Smartphone and computer screens pose a greater threat than watching television because the screens are held closer to the eyes.

Is such harm irreversible? Doctors aren't sure yet, says Hinkley, who is a professor at Ferris State University and the Michigan College of Optometry, But, she adds, “Blue light emitted from electronic screens may lead to permanent damage of the retina,” the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and sends signals to the brain.



Many doctors and researchers agree that you should limit smartphone use to no more than three hours per day. Using smartphones at night can be especially harmful because the light interferes with sleep patterns.

Limiting screen time might seem like a sacrifice now, but it's worth it. One of my friends found out the hard way. “My eyes were hurting really bad, so I went to the doctor,” he said. “I was told that I had an eye strain and was not allowed to look at my phone for days.”

If you eat healthy foods and exercise on a daily basis, there is less of a chance that a medical issue will occur with your eyes. Taking a break every 15 minutes when you're working at a computer is also a smart decision.

Keep in mind: Your eyes are more important than an incoming text.


Photo by Johan Larsson