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Does computer (or smart phone or iPad) use damage the eyes?

Eye fatigue is ubiquitous. Virtually everyone uses a computer, smart phone, or iPad/tablet on a daily basis. This eye fatigue isn’t caused by any harmful radiation or light rays given off by the device itself. This fatigue occurs due to accommodation effects (focusing, or lack thereof), dry eyes due to lack of proper blinking, and potentially poor ambient lighting conditions.

There has been much press lately about the harmful effects of blue light on the eyes, especially in children. A child’s short stature, the clear lenses inside their eyes, and the way most children hold material and devices 6 inches from their face, all add to the concern that blue light may affect their eyes more. And while the science on the harmful effects of blue light exposure to the eyes is still in its infancy, my own children’s glasses have the extra protection of a blue light-reflecting coating.

So does screen time damage the eyes? The short answer is “no”, but excessive screen time DOES cause eye fatigue and focusing problems. The jury is still out whether the blue light emitted from digital devices has a lasting damaging effect, so stay tuned …