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Can Reducing Screen Time Improve Vision?

Even as Americans become more health-conscious, eye health may be falling behind. A recent report by AllConnect shows that Americans’ average screen time has increased by nearly 60% since 2020. It found that Americans of all ages now spend an average of almost seven hours online daily. Still, a minority of people are trying to reduce their screen time to keep it from affecting their vision. A 2023 survey by Pew Research Center discovered that, of 1,453 respondents, 39% are trying to cut back on social media, while 36% aim to reduce time spent specifically on their phones. These efforts beg the question: does reducing screen time positively affect your vision?

Less screen time, better vision?

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According to the Journal of Ophthalmology, each additional hour of screen time can increase one’s likelihood of developing myopia by up to 3%. To see if the opposite habits may yield different results, several studies have made headway in assessing active screen time reduction and improved vision outcomes. For instance, in a 2023 analysis published in Clinical Ophthalmology, participants were asked to change how often and how they used screens. Among other measures, they were asked to use only screens for one hour a day, opt for larger, non-handheld screens instead of smartphones, and use only audio calls. Four weeks after the reduction, examinations revealed improvements in the foveola, the part of the retina with the highest density of photoreceptors supporting color vision and acuity.

The analysts above also suggested printing documents instead of reading them digitally, watching TV from a proper distance, and uninstalling social media apps that eat up too much time. Reducing screen time, especially on smaller screens, could slow down the progression of myopia or nearsightedness. When one spends time outdoors, the eyes can focus on objects in the distance. Unfortunately, a literature review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research reported that even children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates, so it’s a habit that requires intentional practice. Reduced screen time should be paired with increased time in outdoor environments to improve vision.

More tips to improve your vision

As helpful as it is to cut back on screen time, some may already be experiencing vision issues due to previous habits. Regular eye check-ups can help you keep your prescription updated or detect vision issues that could still be corrected. Those with progressive or permanent issues may be prescribed eyewear; good prescription glasses come in various forms: single vision, progressive no-line, bifocal, multifocal, or reading lenses. Lightweight frames like the Oakley Holbrook RX, made of proprietary O Matter material, are an option for screen users with active lifestyles. On the other hand, unisex glasses like the Gucci GG1138O provide a refined look while maintaining stability with inward-curving temples. If you’ve been issued a prescription, wear your glasses consistently, not only when using your screen.

Eyeglasses can also be improved with further modifications to shield against blue light from screens and enhance vision. For instance, Lance Glasses offers modular eyeglasses that can be outfitted with blue light lenses, magnetic sun lens clips, rubber grips, adjustable straps, and more. The Lance X model’s strap, frame, and lenses can be replaced to suit the wearer’s needs, and it is available in various colorways like Dragon Red, Ivory, Black Pearl, and Crystal Gray. Ensure that your glasses have features that suit your lifestyle, whether you spend more time on screen due to work or are prone to UV exposure and visual glare because of your hobbies. Additionally, laptop stands, blue light screen protectors, and adequate lighting could encourage proper posture and eye distance and lessen the vision-related harms of screen time.

While not everyone can reduce their screen time to a mere one hour per day, there are things you can do to mitigate excessive damage to your vision. The proper eyewear and a commitment to healthier habits can go a long way.

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