Eye problems due to the smartphone: causes and remedies

The eye problems because of the smartphone are a nuisance not to be overlooked. We spend on average between two and four hours a day looking at the smartphone and not only our posture can be compromised and damaged, but also and above all the state of health of our sight. In short, unless you use your phone as an mp3 player or hands-free / Bluetooth, we will always have our eyes on the display, with inevitable consequences for our body.

We make the point to become more aware of the risks in the short and long term, how to try to resolve before it is too late and when the signs have already manifested, finally possible care and practical advice.

What is blue light

Smartphones are characterized by the so-called blue light, that is artificial lighting that turns on the back of the display (the most recent models have self-illuminating pixels as for OLED technology). Blue light is characterized by a very short wave length and a higher frequency which - according to some studies, see below - causes damage that is soon told: redness , irritation , dryness , fatigue , blurred vision up to more serious problems such as headache and to orbits and sleep disorders .

But why then do producers continue to focus on blue light? Because compared to the yellow one it is more pleasing to the eye and creates a more contrasted lighting with the benefit of being able to capture more details and, in general, a greater sharpness. In addition, it improves the view under sunlight.

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Blue light is harmful

What happens to our body when we are exposed to blue light? According to a study conducted by the University of Toledo in the United States and published in the journal Scientific Reports the blue light would stimulate the photoreceptors , ie the light-sensitive cells positioned on the retina, the retinal pigment would be activated at each stimulus, but with the blue light it would begin to work badly and not correctly.

This is because it seems that one of the components of the cellular plasma membrane would be altered with the disappearance of different photoreceptors. The photoreceptor would literally die when an increase in the concentration of calcium is recorded in the cytoplasm and when it dies it can never be regenerated.

It could thus fall into the onset of a disease called macular degeneration due to the death of photoreceptors. Without arriving at the blindness that is the ultimate consequence, one may have difficulty reading and recognizing faces, fundamental activities for our everyday life.

Blue light is not harmful

However, there are diametrically opposed positions that state that blue light is not directly responsible for these damages mentioned above and that, on the contrary, it does not involve such consistent problems. For example the American Academy of Ophtalmology (Aao) - a non-profit association of US ophthalmologists - which sends alarms to the sender. The criticism stresses that the cells used for the test do not come from the retina or from the eye and have been subjected only to the artificial light of the laboratory and not to that of the Sun.

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Use of smartphone at night

A common habit to quit as soon as possible is to use the smartphone at night and / or before falling asleep . Net of essential needs that lead us to having to keep the phone switched on during the rest period, for any work or family situations, it is always better to place the phone away from the bed. It's off.

If you want to use as an alarm clock, better activate the aera mode (swipe from top to bottom and tap the airplane icon) to disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular module connections. This, not only because of the discourse on electromagnetic waves, but above all because this avoids waking up when notifications are received (such as for social networks, instant messaging and so on) and turn on the screen.

When you turn on the screen at night, our pupils are dilated to the maximum and the eyes are used to darkness. As a result, the shock will be noticeable, like when someone points our headlights at us while we drive after dark. Apart from this first moment of difficulty for our eyes, artificial light, even at minimum intensity, is even more harmful during the night and affects sleep and sleep quality. This is because our brain is activated excessively, when instead it asks for and needs rest.

Same speech before falling asleep. A good part of the world population observes the smartphone just before closing its eyes, but this bad practice is slowing down the relaxation of the organism with a slower and less profound sleep. Therefore, as Cristiano Ronaldo himself does, better to avoid using the smartphone at least 15, better 30 minutes before sleeping.

How to protect yourself from blue light

It remains therefore the argument that blue light is harmful in the evening before falling asleep or even during the night. Fortunately, now standard on both Android and iOS there is the possibility of exploiting the pre-configured filter that modifies the wavelength and frequency making the shades tend more to the warmer yellow.

From Android you can swipe from top to bottom by opening the list of quick options until you meet Eye Protection with the icon of one eye. With a tap the standard filter turns on. From iOS go to Settings> Display and brightness> Night.

Let us remember, moreover, that blue light suppresses the production of melatonin with consequent imbalance of the circadian rhythms of our organism and relative disruption of the alternation of sleep and waking.

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Dry eye syndrome

This syndrome affects 90% of the over 50s and may even fall in age due to the intensive use of the smartphone. When in fact our attention is fixed on the display, the number of blinks decreases and the eye dries. The further you continue in this situation, the more you run the risk of becoming chronic with the result that you will then have to resort to artificial tears and compounds that moisten. Especially if you wear contact lenses, which increase the dry effect even more.

If you wear multi-focal glasses, you better spend more to focus on office lenses that optimize near and medium distance vision, making them ideal for computer users. Finally, the aforementioned pauses are beneficial also in this case, better to repeat them every hour.

The apps to protect the eyes

There are some applications that can go to protect and safeguard our eyes, here are three very practical ones:

Twilight: automatically adjusts the brightness and contrast of the image, also based on the level of ambient light and time.

Blue Light Filter: five presets of different tones to limit the emission of harmful rays

EasyEyes Free: free app that avoids shock to the eyes by adjusting the brightness to the best and avoiding spikes

Exercises to protect the eyes

Data remains that tell how 70% of frequent users of technological devices develop visual disturbances such as focusing and reading, the aforementioned dryness and headache. In addition, 30% develop myopia that requires corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses.

A possible corrective exercise is the one related to convergence, not solicited by an imposing use of the smartphone. You will have to cover one eye alternately to the other and bring a pen, or other object, from the tip of the nose to a point further away, slowly. Finally, observe with both eyes.

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