Depending upon when you came of age, you may have been told (often) that sitting too close to the TV can hurt your eyes. Maybe your parents, like mine, had rules about how close you could get to the tube.
With the internet and advances in technology today, you may be wondering if your parents were right: does sitting too close to the TV hurt your eyes?
The Making of a Myth
Office workers and avid soap opera fans alike may well tell you the same story: too much time in front of an electronic screen hurts your eyes. While this may be true, does it mean that screens cause permanent damage to our eyes?
Back in the 1960s when TVs first hit American neighborhoods, some television sets were manufactured in such a way that they were actually emitting mild x-rays!
This is where the myth that too much TV time can permanently damage your eyes when in all actuality, too much time in front of TVs emitting x-rays was the true culprit. Though the x-ray television problem was quickly fixed, Americans remained reluctant to let their children sit in front of the television for too long.
What a Strain!
These days, with many of us doing all of our work in front of computer screens, many people raised on the idea that TVs are bad for your eyes wonder if their computers might be damaging their peepers. The fact is that there is no clear evidence that sitting too close to the TV, or any electronic screen, can actually damage your eyes.
What about all those office-workers and soap-opera fans who claim their eyes hurt?
Sitting in front of a screen for too long can lead to symptoms of eyestrain which can cause a host of unpleasant and even long-term symptoms for its sufferers.
Other factors that can contribute to eyestrain include reading under poor lighting conditions and those pesky fluorescent lights for which the American office is famous.
You may be suffering from eye strain if you spend a lot of time behind a screen and have frequent headaches, irritated and watery eyes, burning eyes, sensitivity to light, or blurred vision.
You can reduce the symptoms of eyestrain by taking some precautionary measures.
First things first: start blinking. When you are staring at something, like a TV show, intently for a prolonged period of time, it’s easy to forget to blink. Work on remembering to blink so that your eyes stay properly hydrated (blinking gives them moisture).
Take a look around your work environment: how are your lights? If your office is either too bright or too dark, try to adjust the lighting to more natural conditions. Your eyes will thank you. These simple tips will alleviate and prevent eyestrain symptoms.
And of course, if you do have symptoms of eyestrain, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor as well.