The United States Department of Health & Human Services suggests people limit exposure to screens such as computer monitors and television sets to less than two hours per day. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, however, today’s children are exceeding the recommended maximum exposure time by 66%. To make matters worse, millions of jobs also require workers to sit behind some sort of screen that could be potentially harming their eyes. A Healthier Michigan notes that when users focus on a screen for a long time, the small muscles in the eyes remain contracted, resulting in fatigue, blurred vision and an inability to focus. While a typical person blinks between 12 and 15 times a minute, when focused on a screen, blinking can be reduced to between four and five times per minute, leading to dry and scratchy eyes.
The artificial backlighting most screens employ can also cause eyes to constrict depending on the screen’s brightness, and maintain the same focus for long periods of time. Staring at a screen can also cause sensitivity to light, which could lead to blurred vision, headaches and problems focusing, also known as “Computer Vision Syndrome,” or even more serious problems. CVS affects an estimated 150 to 200 million U.S. workers, and has contributed to a 66% increase in nearsightedness over the past 25 years.
As with most things, too much of exposure to anything can be harmful to one’s health. In order to prevent your eyes from suffering, it is recommended that users take frequent breaks from their screens, sit as far away as possible, and use glare protectors to reduce the amount of light projected into the eye.