Excessive time spent in front of a computer, smartphone, or tablet screen can increase risk of macular degeneration, especially in young people.
The AOA’s survey focused on how much time parents thought their children spent on handheld devices. Their responses easily underestimated those of the children, aged 10 to 17, who reported (83%) that they use a handheld device for at least three hours a day, with 32 percent looking at a screen for more than an hour without glancing away.
The potential harm in looking at screens for long periods is the High-Energy Visible light (HEV) emitted by these devices. HEV is a known risk factor in causing macular degeneration.
Though the survey focused on young people and classroom environments that are increasingly dependent on use of computers and tablets, adults can be equally affected at jobs that require heavy computer use. Over-exposure to HEV can cause headaches, blurry vision, and dry, red eyes. Students and adults alike should take frequent breaks from the screen to avoid harm.