Sight for square eyes: Experts warn of damage caused by excess screen use
4 October 2019, 10:50 | Updated: 4 October 2019, 12:45
Not a day goes by that we don't stare at a screen - but do you ever think about the effect it's having on your health?
Our addiction to technology is doing more than just harming our mental health - it's having a knock-on effect on our eyesight, too.
New research has revealed the potentially devastating consequences of spending too long looking at computer and device screens.
A poll commissioned by the charity Eye Health UK and Vision Express Opticians reveals 85 per cent of workers suffer symptoms of screen fatigue - headaches, eyestrain and problems with close and long-distance vision - after a typical day in the office.
And a leading optometrist says that our penchant for looking at screens before bed is exposing us to harmful levels of "blue light" that is toxic to the cells responsible for vision.
Mr Sheraz Daya of Centre for Sight explained: “Blue light is very important in regulating circadian rhythm (the body's natural wakefulness and sleep cycle) as exposure to blue light during daytime hours helps maintain a healthful circadian rhythm.
"However, too much blue light late at night (for example, reading a novel on a tablet computer or e-reader at bedtime) can disrupt this cycle, potentially causing sleepless nights and daytime fatigue.
"In addition, blue light, which is part of the visible light spectrum, reaches deeper into the eye and its cumulative effect can cause damage to the retina."
During the average working lifetime squared-eyed Brits spend an eye watering 128,780 hours - around 15 years - sitting in front of a screen.
David Cartwright from Eye Health UK said it's vital people start taking regular 'screen breaks' to protect their sight.
He said: "Taking regular breaks during prolonged screen use is vital to keep your eyes healthy.
"I'd urge all screen users to follow the 20-20-20 rule - look away from the screen every 20 minutes and focus on an object 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
"It's a really simple and effective way to minimise screen fatigue yet our research shows only one in five screen users has heard of the 20-20-20 rule and even fewer practice it!"