Is Reading On A Screen Bad For Your Eyes?

Sat Feb 27 2021

Handheld devices, particularly mobile phones, have become an integral part of our lives. Many of us prefer reading on mobile phones or laptops, but too much screen time can cause headaches and digital eye strain (also known as computer vision syndrome). Computer Vision Syndrome(CVS) is a temporary eye condition that is caused due to continuous exposure to digital screens. By 2050, close to half of the global population will be affected by short-sightedness (Source).

In this blog, we look at answers to all the vital questions associated with reading on-screen like Is reading on a screen bad for your eyes, does reading on a screen hurt your eyes, etc.

Reading on-screen vs. reading on paper

Devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones are easing our lives in some way or the other. Digital reading has been around since the start of the technology revolution but the usage of these devices has grown multifold owing to the situations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Working professionals are mostly glued to their laptops to maintain their efficiency even when working from home. The situation is no different for kids who are now bound to the screens due to the closure of schools. Online schooling is taking a toll on their eye health since continued exposure to blue light (from laptops, tablets, phones) can cause vision problems in the long run.     

Over and above, an increasing number of people now prefer to read on handheld devices instead of reading paper books. Though it offers much-needed convenience, it should be kept to a bare minimum as too much screen time can hurt the eyes.

It is a normal tendency to blink less when you are staring at the blue light coming from the screens. This causes additional strain to your eyes, and it becomes difficult to focus on things. Let us look at some of the side effects of too much screen time:

  • Eye fatigue

Your eyes can hurt if you read on the handheld devices for a longer duration. Eye fatigue can cause concentration issues, headaches, and double vision.

  • Irritated eyes

A reduction in the blink rate can cause dryness and irritation in the eyes.

  • Retinal Damage

Blue light emitting from the devices can damage the sensitive cells in the retina and lead to symptoms that cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

In the initial stages, you might witness a dip in concentration levels and gradually experience sleep disorders. Lack of sleep can hurt your eyes and negatively impact your mental and physical health.

Measures to protect your eyes from too much screen time

Now that we know the answer to the commonly asked question, ‘Is reading on a screen bad for your eyes.’ let us check some of the ways through which you can reduce the stress on the eyes when reading on the screens:

  • Take a break

Follow the 20-20-20 rule recommended by the American Ophthalmological Society for reducing eye strain. Take a break after every 20 minutes and look at any object located approximately 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

  • Minimize screen brightness

In no case should the screen brightness be more than the surrounding light. Set the display brightness to automatic so that brightness adjusts as per the external conditions.

  • Use blue-light filters

If you wear spectacles, it is recommended to wear glasses that have blue light filters. This protects your eyes from the blue light emitting from handheld devices.

  • Keep your eyes moist

To reduce dryness in the eyes, use artificial tears so that the eyes stay lubricated all the time.

Over and above all these tips, you should regularly visit ophthalmologists so that you can take timely actions to improve your eye health. Centre for Sight is one of India’s leading group of eye hospitals in India where our expert eye doctors, with a motto of ‘every eye deserves the best,’ are working continuously on keeping your eyes healthy It’s time to beat the computer vision syndrome.

Article: Is Reading On A Screen Bad For Your Eyes?
Author: CFS Editorial Team  | Feb 27, 2021 | UPDATED 06:40 IST

*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.

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