Aussies putting eye health at serious risk with smartphone use: Study

Australians are putting their eye health at risk by holding their smartphones too close to their face. Source: Getty

A rise in technology and love of smartphones is taking its toll on Australians’ vision, with many putting their eye health at serious risk due to the improper use of devices, a new study has warned.

The smartphone has become as much of a necessity to many today as daily essentials like toothpaste and food, with people of all ages relying on the device to browse social media, stay in touch with friends and family and catch up with the news. But according to new research, it could have a negative effect on Aussies’ eye health.

A survey of 500 Australians, commissioned by online optical retailer and published by technology news company iTWire, has found many throughout the country are damaging their vision by holding mobiles phones five to 22cm closer to their eyes than they hold newspapers, magazines and books.

This combined with the pixellated images appearing on smartphone screens is putting significant pressure on eyes and causing digital strain.

“Eye fatigue, blurred vision, headaches, neck pain and dry eyes are all common symptoms of digital eye strain, which not only occurs while sitting at a computer, but also as we stare at our seemingly constant companions: smartphones,” Chief Executive Duncan Brett explained, according to iTWire.

“Simply put, our eyes are working overtime to maintain focus.”

He added: “Our research strongly suggests that devices themselves can cause eye strain too. Electronics emit a form of blue light that causes our eyes to refract, making surrounding objects go in and out of focus. To fix this, we overcompensate by squinting.”

Addiction to smartphones has become serious, with the study also revealing how dependent Aussies are on their devices. The research revealed 40 per cent of Australians use their phones in the bathroom, while 15 per cent said they would rather go a week without bathing or showering instead of going a week without their device.

Half of those surveyed even said they’d give up coffee before their smartphone for a week and even more would be willing to give up alcohol for a week rather than their smartphone.

In a bid to reduce the harmful effects of smartphone use, Brett suggested using the 20/20/20 rule – taking a 20 second break every 20 minutes, while looking at something 20 feet away.

He also advised against prolonged work on a tablet and said it’s best to switch to a computer screen that is about 20 to 28 inches away from eyes. Brett also claimed technology users should clean their electronic device screens frequently to minimise glare.

Do you use a smartphone? Do you think it is impacting your eye health?

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and information purposes only. It does not take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any decisions about your health or changes to medication, diet and exercise routines you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional.

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