The majority of people will admit they spend too much time looking at their phones, and we know it's not good for us.
But a new study has found that our smartphones may be doing more damage than we’d previously suspected, specifically to our eyes.
The report published in BMC Opthalmology revealed that children who spend more time on their phones have more symptoms of dry-eye disease.
And when those children went without their phones for a whole month, their symptoms were reduced.
Dry-eye disease is a condition that occurs when the eyes don’t produce enough tears, which results in eyes becoming red, swollen and irritated.
Usually associated with older people, specialists believe it is underdiagnosed in children.
When we stare at screens, we blink less which means our tear film evaporates faster and our risk of dry-eye disease increases.
The worst jobs for your health
The worst jobs for your health
1/10 10. Surgical and medical assistants, technologists, and technicians
Overall unhealthiness score: 57.3 What they do: Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel and perform medical laboratory tests. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to disease and infections: 88 2. Exposure to contaminants: 80 3. Exposure to hazardous conditions: 69
2/10 9. Stationary engineers and boiler operators
Overall unhealthiness score: 57.7 What they do: Operate or maintain stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment to provide utilities for buildings or industrial processes. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to contaminants: 99 2. Exposure to hazardous conditions: 89 3. Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings: 84
3/10 8. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators
Overall unhealthiness score: 58.2 What they do: Operate or control an entire process or system of machines, often through the use of control boards, to transfer or treat water or wastewater. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to contaminants: 97 2. Exposure to hazardous conditions: 80 3. Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings: 74
4/10 7. Histotechnologists and histologic technicians
Overall unhealthiness score: 59.0 What they do: Prepare histologic slides from tissue sections for microscopic examination and diagnosis by pathologists. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to hazardous conditions: 88 2. Exposure to contaminants: 76 3. Exposure to disease and infections: 75
5/10 6. Immigration and customs inspectors
Overall unhealthiness score: 59.3 What they do: Investigate and inspect people, common carriers, goods, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the US or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to contaminants: 78 2. Exposure to disease and infections: 63 3. Exposure to radiation: 62
6/10 5. Podiatrists
Overall unhealthiness score: 60.2 What they do: Diagnose and treat diseases and deformities of the human foot. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to disease and infections: 87 2. Exposure to radiation: 69 3. Exposure to contaminants: 67
7/10 4. Veterinarians, veterinary assistants, and laboratory animal caretakers and veterinary technologists and technicians
What they do: Diagnose, treat, or research diseases and injuries of animals and perform medical tests in a laboratory environment for use in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in animals. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to disease and infections: 81 2. Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings: 75 3. Exposure to contaminants: 74
8/10 3. Anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, and anesthesiologist assistants
Overall unhealthiness score: 62.3 What they do: Administer anesthetics or sedatives during medical procedures, and help patients in recovering from anesthesia. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to disease and infections: 94 2. Exposure to contaminants: 80 3. Exposure to radiation: 74
9/10 2. Flight attendants
What they do: Provide personal services to ensure the safety, security, and comfort of airline passengers during flight. Greet passengers, verify tickets, explain use of safety equipment, and serve food or beverages. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to contaminants: 88 2. Exposure to disease and infections: 77 3. Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings: 69
10/10 1. Dentists, dental surgeons, and dental assistants
Overall unhealthiness score: 65.4 What they do: Examine, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting oral hygiene and retention of teeth. May fit dental appliances or provide preventive care. Top three health risks: 1. Exposure to contaminants: 84 2. Exposure to disease and infections: 75 3. Time spent sitting: 67
The BMC Opthalmology study assessed 916 Korean children between the ages of seven and 12. The children were given eye exams and 6.6 per cent met the criteria for dry-eye disease.
97 per cent of those children revealed they used smartphones for 3.2 hours a day on average, compared to the 37 minutes a day by 55 per cent of children without any symptoms.
It’s not just with an increased risk of dry-eye disease that smartphones are damaging our eyes though.
Tanya Goodin, founder of digital detox specialists Time to Log Off, told The Independent: “We've known for a while that overuse of screens is affecting eyesight through a range of symptoms categorised as ‘digital eye strain’.”
Studies have shown that digital eye strain - the physical discomfort felt after two or more hours in front of a digital screen - amongst adults and children is on the up.
However more than 30 per cent of parents who say they are very concerned about the impact of digital devices on children’s eyes allow their kids to spend over three hours a day looking at screens.
Goodin, whose company runs digital detox camps for teenagers as well as retreats for adults, believes parents are right to be particularly worried about the implications for children.
Her top tips are: “Keeping daytime screen usage within healthy limits, no screens an hour before bedtime and no single screen session over two hours.”
Maybe adults should try and follow those rules too.Reuse content