Checking emails. Scrolling through social media feeds. Reading articles on the go. Taking selfies. Then video calling distant friends...

We sure spend a lot of time staring at our mobile phones every day. But while we don’t give it a second thought, we may be harming our eyes in the process.

Mobile phone screens emit blue light. Your eyes cannot filter blue light, and so it reaches the inner lining of your eye.

Long-term exposure to blue light can affect your eye health. You may first experience mild symptoms like eyestrain, blurry vision, and headaches. Over time, the symptoms may turn more serious, leading to retinal damage and loss of vision.

But there are many things you can do to protect your eyes from your smartphone, from reducing screen time to wearing yellow-tinted glasses.

Read on to discover in detail all the harmful mobile effects on the eyes, the common symptoms you may experience, and how you can effectively combat them.

What Are the Effects of Mobile Phones on the Eyes?

Too much screen time, especially when the screen is too close to your eyes, can cause eye strain and dryness. These come with other symptoms like blurry vision, soreness, and headaches.

But that’s not all. When you use mobiles, you also expose your eyes to blue light damage. This can lead to vision loss, myopia, and even blindness.

So, what are the harmful mobile use side effects?

Digital Eye Strain

Using your mobiles for long hours can cause digital eye strain. Your eyes will feel overworked, sore, and fatigued. You may even have recurring headaches and neck and shoulder pain.

Some reasons for eye strain from phones include screen glare, dim lighting, poor posture, and small font. Holding your phone too close to your eyes can also strain your eyes.

Digital eye strain can be unpleasant. But it isn’t anything serious. The symptoms go away on their own once you rest your eyes and avoid using your phone for some time.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is when your eyes have insufficient tears. As a result, the surface of your eyes feels dry and gritty. This can also cause excessive tearing, itchiness, redness, and blurry vision.

Dry eye syndrome can be triggered by the overuse of smartphones. When you’re scrolling through your social media feed or reading articles and stories on your phone, you tend to blink less often.

This can make your eyes dry and irritated. To combat eye dryness, blink consciously while using your phone. Additionally, take screen breaks.

Do you have dry eye symptoms? Take the Dry Eye Test.

Deteriorating Vision and Myopia

Mobile phones come with many addicting features, apps, and games. These can keep you hooked on your device for hours without breaks.

Continuous and prolonged staring at mobile phones can have a long-term impact on your eye health. It could lead to myopia (or nearsightedness) according to a 2021 review article published in The Lancet.

seated man and woman with eyeglasses buttoning phone

In children, the risk of developing myopia due to mobile overuse is higher. Some early signs to look out for in your child include frequent rubbing of the eyes, tearing and excessive blinking, headaches, and eye squints.

Retinal Damage and Loss of Vision

Cell phones emit blue light. Prolonged exposure to blue light can damage the light-sensitive cells in your retina.

This can cause blurry or double vision in the short run. In the long run, you may have retinal damage leading to macular degeneration and even blindness.

Macular degeneration can cause loss of central vision. This is generally an age-related disease, but excessive blue light exposure can trigger it at a young age. It can also lead to complete vision loss.

Symptoms of Eye Damage Due to Mobiles

Eye damage due to mobile phones comes with many early symptoms. These include eye dryness, excessive tearing, squinting, headaches, and more.

Be on the lookout for these early symptoms to protect your eyes from mobile phones.

  • Dryness in eye
  • Irritated and watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Eye discomfort
  • Double vision
  • Squinting and blinking excessively to see clearly
  • Fatigue and itch in the eye

How to Protect Your Eyes from Phone Screens

From checking social media to keeping in touch with friends, smartphones have become part of everyday life. And so, protecting your eyes from your phone screen has also become more important than ever.

But effectively tackling the issue is more about prevention than treatment. Follow these tips to protect your eyes from mobile screen damage.

Turn on the Blue Light Filter

Most smartphones have the option of turning on the blue light filter. This makes the screen warmer and reduces the amount of blue light entering your eyes.

You can also turn on the night mode while using your phone during the evening or night hours.

Adjust Font Size

Smartphone screens are generally small. The fonts are even smaller. As a result, being glued to your phone for too long can cause eyestrain.

Making your fonts a size or two bigger can help with this problem. You will no longer have to squint to read articles or messages on your phone.

Use Blue Light Eyewear and Reduce Glare

Wearing yellow-tinted glasses can cut down your blue light exposure. These glasses will also increase comfort if you are looking at your smart screen for long periods.

At the same time, reduce any glare on the screen, either from sunlight or a lightbulb. This will help ease your eyestrain.

Eat Healthy

Eat nutrients your eyes need to stay healthy such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta carotene, and vitamins A, C, and E. Omega-3 fatty acids can also support eye health and help with dry eyes.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables including leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, legumes, nuts, and fatty fish can help you get most of these nutrients through food.

If you don’t always have time to eat as many eye nutrients as you'd like, you can also try a superfood-based eye health supplement like SightC or Blueberry Gummies.

Limit Screen Time

Limiting your mobile screen time can have wonderful effects on your eye health. Just do it and you will see the difference.

mobile phone held in hands by woman dressed in light denim shirt

Your eyes will feel less strained and fatigued. Your headaches will vanish over time. And your eye dryness will get better, too.

The Wrap Up

So, do phones damage your eyes? Overusing them can.

Mobile phones aren’t your eyes’ best friends. They can hurt your vision in many ways. You may get dry eyes, blurry vision, sore and teary eyes, and even myopia (nearsightedness).

In the long term, the effects are more dangerous. Your light-sensitive retina may be damaged, leading to deteriorating vision and even blindness.

While these effects might take years to show, it’s better to protect your eyes from mobile phone damage.

You can take regular screen breaks, turn on the blue light filter, and wear yellow-tinted glasses. Eat a healthy diet for your eyes and consider an eye health supplement too.

These few steps will protect your eyes from blue light damage and keep them healthy, comfortable, and well-rested.

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