Not An Eye-Deal Practice: Smartphone Use Heightens Risk Of Dry Eye Disease

Woman pressing her eyes

The irresistible pull of social media makes it almost impossible to put one’s smartphones aside in favor of quality outdoor time. Apart from being a new relationship buster, the smartphone is doing more health damage than expected, especially to a person’s eyes.

A report published in the journal BMC Ophthalmology reveals that children who stare at a smartphone screen for too long have more symptoms of dry eye syndrome — a condition that already affects about five million American adults over age 50.

Prolonged Smartphone Use Heightens the Risk of Dry Eye among Children

Scientists have found that excessive smartphone use leads to reduced blinking. This, in turn, results in a faster evaporation of the tear film and a higher risk of developing dry eye disorder. Of the 916 children in the BMC study, 6.6% met the criteria for dry eyes, and 97% of those children used their smartphones for about 3.2 hours a day, on average. To take the idea further, the study revealed that the dry eye symptoms among the kids decreased after they went without their gadgets for a month.

Overuse of Screens Leads to Digital Eye Strain

Apart from putting users at risk of dry eye, the overuse of screens also affects eyesight through a range of symptoms known as “digital eye strain.” Digital eye strain often leads to discomfort after spending more than two hours in front of a digital screen, and the rates are on the rise in both children and adults.

Keeping Daytime Screen Usage within Healthy Limits

The BMC study’s findings underscore the importance of finding an optometrist in Monmouth County, New Jersey, for routine comprehensive eye examinations. At-home eye care is also a necessity, and it calls for the responsibility of family members to regulate smartphone usage within the home. For good measure, children should refrain from smartphone use an hour before bedtime and avoid single screen sessions for over two hours.

Technology, in the form of smartphone screens, is a ubiquitous part of life. A healthy balance between the use of digital devices and outdoor activity should exist to avoid triggering dry eye symptoms and other possible eye health complications.