As the use of technology becomes increasingly commonplace, more and more people – of all ages – are suffering from myopia, or nearsightedness. Research has shown that myopia diagnoses have increased 66 percent since the 1970s. Nearsightedness develops when the eyeball becomes larger than the normal size. As a result, the angle at which the light enters the eye changes, leading to abnormal focus on the objects that are far away.
But staring at a computer screen all the time is not the only culprit of the growing myopia rates. Researchers suggest that insufficient sunlight exposure is also a contributing factor.
Myopia can develop as early as adolescence, and it progresses over time. Nowadays, children are particularly prone to developing nearsightedness, because they are spending more time indoors and aren’t getting enough sunlight.
Research findings suggest that those who are regularly exposed to sunlight are better protected against myopia, compared to those who are not. But although sunlight exposure can help your vision, it can have detrimental effects on your skin, so you want to make sure you are taking proper sun safety measures, such as wearing sunscreen, covering up, wearing sunglasses, not looking directly at the sun, and moderating your sun exposure.
On the other hand, if you do find yourself cooped up inside for prolonged periods of time, you will want to make a conscious effort to get more sun. And be conscious of your screen time. Too much time spent on tablets, smartphones, computers and television doesn’t do any good for your vision.
One trick you can utilize to give your eyes a break from technology is known as the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Another important trick is to blink. Blinking helps keep the eyes lubricated, which can reduce the risk of dry eyes.
Protecting your eyes doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it’s as easy as heading outdoors and unplugging yourself from technology.