A lot of us wonder how we ever lived without smartphones. The tiny computers that ride around in our pockets or bags have, in many ways, utterly changed how we go about our lives. They’ve replaced a variety of technologies and in turn allowed us to lead far more fulfilling lives by centralizing all we need for both work and enjoyment. Some people don’t like them, but that’s always been the way with technologies that end up taking over formerly familiar pieces of life. Smartphones aren’t getting any less complicated either. We keep making them more powerful and better for the areas of life in which we use them. There is a downside though. Smartphones are associated with multiple forms of eye damage due to the nature of their use and the potential situations in which we use them. While they share some of these risks with larger computers, they do have some that are entirely their own. Let’s look at the potential problems and if there are any ways to counter them so that everyone’s favorite device doesn’t come with a cost.

Size Matters
One of the convenient parts of smartphones is that they’re easy to store. They disappear into a pocket easily and are just as easy to retrieve. The continual march to more compact and convenient technology is part of why we love them so much. Staring at information on small screens isn’t necessarily the best for your eye though. We all need a particular size of text to read safely and conveniently. It turns out that those of us who are glued to our smartphones aren’t doing our eyes any favors for this very reason. Some smartphones work to help correct this by offering variable text and icon sizes to help safeguard against this problem though. A few companies are better about this than others though. The major takeaway from this problem is that you should try to remember not to constantly stare at your smartphone at a great distance. Ensuring readable text sizes will go a long way to helping you enjoy convenience without eye strain.

Woman with phone
The Color of Technology
There’s something comforting about the cool, blue-ish glow of an LCD screen. It provides a powerful light in the darkness and ensures that we can always read our smartphones or computers wherever we are at the time. The problem is that, while that blue light is part of normal light, such light is potentially damaging our eyes. Blue light is part of all light and that’s actually the problem. Studies are beginning to show that overexposure to sources of it is potentially damaging to the eyes in some cases. Most studies indicate that at least some people are likely to experience faster degeneration of their eyesight if they live a life of high exposure to blue light. It largely appears to impact forward-facing eyesight though. Some proposals have been made on ways to help reduce the potential for damage though and it doesn’t appear to affect everyone. It is worth noting that blue light is associated with disturbed sleep though. As a result, you’ll want to avoid looking at your phone when you’re trying to get to sleep.

Moderation is Key
All of this may sound a bit grim in a world where it is hard to escape smartphones and other pieces of technology, but it really isn’t that hard to actually mitigate the potential damage. As stated before, you can easily minimize eye strain from small display sizes by scaling the contents appropriately. Blue light damage can also be reduced simply by remembering to take a break. The issue is less exposure and more overexposure. Don’t stare at your smartphone for ages without ever taking a break. The general goal is simply to take reasonable breaks regularly whenever you’re heavily using technology with the blue light glow. It will prevent things from adding up as easily as it otherwise might lead to damage. For instance, a half hour break and walk every so often will help reduce eye strain and keep you comparatively active to help your overall health too.

Your smartphone isn’t going to directly damage your eyes as long as you’re using it reasonably. Don’t stare at it for hours without a break and you should generally be fine. You can potentially find products to apply to a screen that can minimize blue light issues as well if you’re particularly worried about that. We should all be free to enjoy our technology and the benefits it gives us. Sometimes we just need to exercise a little good judgment to ensure we don’t overindulge.

 

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