BLOG: Always Watching

Whether you like football or just wanted to watch the commercials, you most likely watched Super Bowl LI.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, an average of 113.7 millions viewers tuned in to see the New England Patriots late comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons in this year’s 51st Super Bowl. This viewing number takes second behind last year’s Super Bowl with an average of 114.4 million viewers.  

Knowing the number of people who watched the Super Bowl, I have been thinking a lot about the amount of time I, and so many others, spend staring at screens. Between looking at my phone, my computer — at home and work — and the television, I noticed that I spend the majority of my time looking at a screen.

I asked myself what scientists are saying about the effect of screens on people's eyes so, I looked into it.

According to Business Insider, “approximately 30 percent of adults spend nine hours a day looking at screens, more than 60 percent spend more than five hours a day looking at screens and close to 95 percent spend more than two hours a day.

Looking at screens can cause dry eyes, loss of focus, head, neck and back pain, according to Business Insider. These issues are “uncomfortable in the short term and potentially dangerous in the long term.”

The biggest culprit has to do with the blue light our screens give off. Business Insider continues to say, “Constantly staring at this light (and constantly staring at something the same distance away all day) strains your eyes, an effect also known as computer vision syndrome” and “blue light reaches far into the retina, which can eventually cause damage and vision problems.”

Even though this screen staring seems pretty bad, I feel like today’s society relies on screens. We use screens to learn, entertain ourselves and work, etc.. I had to stare at my computer just to write this blog post, and you’re staring at a screen to read it.

After thinking about these effects excessive screen time has on me, I’m trying to cut back. I'm starting a screen time diet of sorts. I can already feel the positive effects of looking anywhere but my devices. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself.

Try cutting back your screen time to only one hour a day. You can keep a timer going when you’re looking at your phone to keep track. I also recommend using the “night mode” on your Apple smartphone and the f.lux application on your Mac or PC, which tints your screen at night to help offset the effects of blue LED lights on your sleep schedule.

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