Smartphone screens in terms of exposure to the user’s eyes are no more harmful than a PC monitor, TV monitor, or a book. However, under certain conditions, your favorite gadget can negatively affect your eye health. Along with gadgets, many other bad habits affect eye health:
- Smoking: It accelerates the aging process which also affects the vision of a person.
- Diet: Not eating food that is beneficial for eyes health lead to poor vision.
- Wearing Lenses: If you keep wearing these lenses for a longer period, it can cause an infection.
- Consuming Alcohol: Alcohol does not allow the vitamins to get absorbed in the body. It leads to visionary problems. You can contact the alcohol abuse hotline and discuss the symptoms so you can get its right treatment.
- Rubbing Eyes: By strongly rubbing the eyes, you can damage them. It is better not to rub them.
Now, let’s figure out the main cause of visionary problems: using smartphones.
Can A Smartphone Impair Vision?
In 1998, the American Ophthalmology Association coined the term “computer vision syndrome” (CVS), which refers to body conditions caused by prolonged use of a computer, from neck pain to headaches and loss of visual acuity. The same symptoms appear with prolonged use of the smartphone.
Here are two main reasons why smartphones, in simple terms, impair vision.
- Long Focus On A Close Subject
Because the distance from the eyes to the screen does not change for a long time, a spasm of accommodation occurs. The lens freezes in one position, and over time its ability to focus at other distances weakens. And since the distance to the smartphone is usually about 20-30 cm, myopia develops. However, book lovers face the same problem – no matter paper or electronic.
- The Display Emits Blue Light
Of course, it doesn’t just emit blue. Simply from the entire spectrum that makes up the visible range, blue light is the shortest wavelength of light, consisting of the most energetically charged photons. Only ultraviolet is more aggressive, but it should not be in household appliances.
The blue light beams are focused directly in front of the retina, requiring eye strain to get a sharp image. Besides, blue light photons are capable of destroying retinal receptors. Finally, blue light blocks the production of melatonin, which leads to sleep disturbances. In short, blue light is harmful, no matter how you look. And it is emitted by any screens – from a telephone to a plasma panel.
- Affects Beyond Eyes
There is a third reason, which affects not so much vision, but overall well-being. Forums and social media are full of complaints about eye fatigue and headaches from owners of OLED smartphones. It turned out that the whole thing is in pulse width modulation (PWM). It is the process responsible for the glow of the screen at low brightness levels.
Since OLED screens do not have a backlight layer, their brightness is controlled by the flickering of the LEDs themselves. The lower the brightness, the shorter the pulse length, and the more noticeable the flicker will be.
Smartphones from different manufacturers work and flicker differently. For example, the iPhone XS Max with an OLED screen starts flickering below 50% brightness. Tests of the new Samsung Galaxy A51 and A71 with Super AMOLED screens have shown that even at minimum brightness levels, flicker is very negligible.
Technology to Guard the Eyes
To protect the eyesight of users, smartphone manufacturers, and app developers have come up with special tricks.
1- Blue Light Filter
The function cuts off that very destructive part of the spectrum. This leads to a change in the color gamut – the image becomes “warmer”, pure white color “goes into yellowness”. Logically, you cannot use this filter all the time, and it is presented as a special mode for reading.
2- DC Dimming
The function combats PWM flickering by reducing the current and changing the pulse width. True, the color rendering also suffers a little.
3- Dark Filter
Also fights flicker. This is an application that opens on top of the current one, dimming it. At the same time, the actual screen brightness level remains full and PWM is not activated. But this technology, in theory, is already unsafe for the screen itself, since it can result in pixel burnout.
4- Darkened Mode
It is also known as a dark theme. It used to be a fashionable and desirable thing, now it is in every modern smartphone. It not only minimizes the overall screen glow but also reduces the effects of flickering on OLED screens.
The functions designed to change communication habits with a smartphone – digital balance and the use of voice assistants – indirectly protect eyesight.
Much Depends On Us
Manufacturers are trying to make smartphones safer, but if you use them incorrectly, bad consequences will not be-long in coming.
- Turn on the blue light filter. If you are not looking at photos and not playing, you probably don’t need blue light.
- Use digital balance settings to avoid falling prey to smartphone addiction.
- Give your eyes a break from any screens. Switching from computer work to smartphone feed is a very bad idea. A better look at the world around you, take a walk and try to focus your gaze into the distance. When working, try not to look at one point for a long time. Even glances from time to time thrown at colleagues or out the window are already a considerable help to vision.
How Playing Video Games Affect Our Vision?
There is one more problem associated with watching videos or playing long games. The frequency of blinking during these exercises is reduced by 3-4 times. As a result, the cornea of the eye dries up – there is a feeling of “sand in the eyes.”
The long-term consequences of this “sand” are also not encouraging – conjunctivitis, keratitis. The only way to avoid these troubles is to break away from the game or film every 10-15 minutes and, as they say, blink.
And of course, don’t forget to check with an ophthalmologist. Preventing your vision from deteriorating is easier than restoring it. However, as you can see, you shouldn’t be afraid of smartphones and refuse to use them either.