Can my cellphone or computer screen damage my eyes?
Is your cellphone or computer screen slowly blinding you? There’s been a lot of hype lately over the blue light emitted by electronic devices and the damage it can do to your eyes. But before you panic, read on.
Spending a lot of time on electronic devices is hard on the eyes. No one disputes that, but there is controversy over the blue light they emit - especially following a study released this past summer.
University of Toledo researchers conducted a lab experiment exposing live cells to blue light and discovered it caused damage to retina cells.
The headlines took off : "Screens are killing your eyeballs," "Study reveals cellphones and gadgets wear down your retina," "Blue light from electronic devices...may damage vision."
“I think it’s just hype. There’s no evidence to support that,” said Kevin Gregory-Evans a macular research expert at the University of British Columbia.
He says there has been no human study demonstrating retinal damage from blue light from electronic devices.
Now the lead researcher on the blue light study is clarifying the study did not conclude that light from digital devices causes blindness.
And the American Academy of Ophthalmology says to ignore the alarmist headlines, stating, blue light from your cell phone is not blinding you.
That hasn’t stopped optical stores from selling consumers special amber tinted glasses to filter out blue light.
“I think there’s an element of a placebo effect with these sort of spectacles,” Gregory-Evans added.
However, the lead researcher on the Toledo study also points to a study on the impact of blue light on mice. Three groups of mice were continuosly exposed to high intensity for seven days. The study concluded that mice protected from the blue light with special filters did not have the same damage to their eyes as mice that were fully exposed and had even less damage than other group of mice, which was not exposed to the intense light at all.
You can draw your own conclusions about the human experience to exposure from blue light. No human study has put anyone under that kind of intense experiment.
However, too much screen time is causing problems for children, like dry eye syndrome.
“You commonly see it in people who are in their 50s and 60s, but now it’s showing up in children who are using their smartphones a lot, we’re seeing this more and more,” said Dr. Ralph Chu of the Chu Vision Institute.
People don't blink as much when looking at computers and electronic screens and they can experience eye fatigue associated with near vision work.
The simple solution? The 20-20-20 rule - every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.