Too much screen time can lead to potential eye damage

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - We do it all the time, we can't go through the day without looking at electronic devices like our smart phones, TVs or computers. But we probably don't think about how too much screen time can damage our eyes.

The digital age is upon us so for the past 20 years, we've been using technology to help us get through our day. But researchers are finding people are at risk to eye problems a whole lot faster because of it.

"Several things happen when you're focused on something for too long," said Dr. Chase Jackson, Medical Center Hospital O.D. "Studies have been done on this but the blink rate decreases so you don't blink as frequently or fully."

The lack of blinking can prevent the eye from staying moist, which causes dryness. But the other thing you need to watch out for is the blue light that emits from the device. This can damage certain cells at the back of the eye and can cause macular degeneration, when you're unable to see clearly.

"Macula is space close to the nerve at the back of the eye," said Jackson. "Whenever you're looking at something, you're using that back of the eye to focus which is how you get your best vision. Problems with that area start to mess with your best vision which you can't lose. Otherwise you can't recognize faces as well and things like that. Imagine looking at your peripheral vision all the time."

Some methods you can do if you spend a lot of time in front of electronic devices is getting blue blocking lenses to prevent blue light from getting into your eyes.

Follow the 20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes you look at the screen, look away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break.

You can change the settings on your smart phone to reduce the blue light.

So while you go about your day whether you're checking e-mails or watching TV, don't lose sight of not only what's in front of your eyes, but also what's behind them.

If you're concerned with your eyes, you can set an appointment with ProCare Family Health Clinic Optometry at (432) 640-6600.

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