Too much screen time can be a strain

Warwick Daily News - - HEALTHY LIVING -

SCREEN time is in­evitable. Our day and age is geared to spend­ing hours look­ing at screens, whether it be star­ing at a com­puter all day for work, watch­ing TV or scrolling so­cial me­dia on your phone.

So much so that Lon­er­gan Re­search data found Aus­tralians spend more time glued to elec­tronic de­vices than they do eat­ing, com­mut­ing, work­ing and ex­er­cis­ing com­bined.

That means more than onethird of each day – 9.4 hours – is be­ing spent ex­posed to blue light emit­ted from com­puter, mo­bile phone and tele­vi­sion screens, which equates to about 143 days every year.

But, ac­cord­ing to Vision Di­rect in-house op­tometrist Jessica Ch­ester, any more than an hour a day is con­sid­ered a com­mon cause of eye strain.

“Screens emit harm­ful blue UV rays, which cause dam­age to our lens in the eye and our retina,” she said. “The rays also af­fect our di­ur­nal and noc­tur­nal hor­mones, which af­fect sleep pat­terns.”

While op­ti­cal glasses have re­cently be­come avail­able with blue block lenses, you still need to be vig­i­lant to keep your eyes in good shape.

“Every 30 min­utes, you should look away from the screen and stare out a win­dow or far into the dis­tance for five min­utes,” Ms Ch­ester said.

“This is ex­tremely im­por­tant as the mus­cles of the eyes can get stuck fo­cus­ing at close dis­tances and cause Com­puter Fa­tigue Syn­drome – when the eyes can­not fo­cus into the dis­tance any more and are ex­tremely strained.”

If you find your­self squint­ing more than usual, it’s a sign it’s time to see your op­tometrist.

Photo: iStock

FO­CUSED: We spend more than one-third of each day watch­ing screens.

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