You know the scene: You’re watching a movie with your nose inches from your phone when one of your parents calls out, “You’re going to ruin your eyes!” You give yours a roll, then go back to your movie. But later your eyes are itchy and dry. Plus, you have a wicked headache. Could it be that annoying parental voice was . . . right?
While your mom or dad was probably being a bit dramatic, they are right to worry about the effect of all that screentime on your eyes. In fact, ophthalmologists (doctors who specialize in eye care) are noticing a rise in teen patients complaining of dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches. And the problems may go beyond temporary discomfort: While experts say there’s not enough evidence yet to link irreversible eye damage with excessive screentime, studies have shown that too much “near work” (focusing on things near your face, like your phone) can lead to nearsightedness (the inability to clearly see things in the distance).
Unfortunately, thanks to Covid-19-related remote learning and social distancing, we’re doing more near work than ever these days. But don’t panic! Just turn the page to take a peek at the surprising answers to your most urgent questions about keeping your eyes clear and your vision sharp.