Staring at your mobile in the dark could harm your eyes

This habit can initially cause dry eyes and strain, say ophthalmologists. Follow the 20-20 rule instead

October 04, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:33 am IST

Are you in the habit of using your mobile phone after you put off the lights, lying in bed? If so, have a re-think, as ophthalmologists say continuous use of mobile phones before bedtime in the dark can cause extensive strain to your eyes.

This habit can initially cause dry eyes, and strain your eyes. Direct glare of over 30 minutes can even cause irreversible eye macular degeneration, resulting in rapid deterioration of vision.

Although there are no scientific studies to substantiate this, the concern for this stems from the fact that the mobile devices expose us to high energy visible (HEV) light or blue light, which in certain experiments in laboratory with high dose of exposure has shown to cause changes in certain cells of the eyes, says Kaushik Murali, president Medical Administration, Sankara Eye Foundation.

“The HEV light or blue light is also part of the light from LEDs and sunlight. However, we are not exposed to this for long hours as we rarely stare at these sources of light for a long time,” he says.

K. Bhujang Shetty, chairman and managing director of Narayana Nethralaya, says eyes could be affected only after continuous and prolonged use of mobile phones in the dark. “This habit may not cause enough damage that can lead to permanent vision loss if a person uses it occasionally. But it would definitely strain the eyes,” he says.

Both the doctors suggest some precautions, including maintaining a comfortable working distance from the device — be it a mobile phone or computer and ensure that the screen is bright enough and the fonts big enough to read comfortably.

It is also advisable for a person to follow the rule of 20s — every 20 minutes, stare at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will bring back your blink rate to normal and also relax the muscles in your eye.

“Playing out is healthier than playing on your device. If you have any strain, get your eyes examined. Any uncorrected refractive error would only compound your strain,” Dr. Murali says.

(Reporting by

Afshan Yasmeen)

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