April 30, 2017

Too close for comfort?

Save readers from ‘screen-sightedness’

Reading a blog post on an iPhone is like reading War and Peace through a keyhole — with a flashlight shining in your eyes.

Too close for comfort?

Eye can’t take this any more! Short-sightedness from having to read from a tiny screen up close is becoming an epidemic. Image by Adam Birkett

No wonder, then, that screen reading causes — in addition to such symptoms as eyestrain and nausea — advancing myopia, aka shortsightedness.

Blame it on smartphones, says British eye surgeon David Allamby of Focus Clinics. He calls this epidemic “screen-sightedness.”

In fact, since smartphones were introduced in the 1990s, the number of people with this condition has increased by 35%, according to Allamby. By 2033, he predicts, half of all 30-year-olds will suffer from screen-sightedness.

Promixity matters.

So how is screen reading different from print reading?

The average screen reader holds her phone 7 to 12 inches from her face. Newspaper and book readers, on the other hand, hold their print pieces at a safer distance — about 16 inches away.

So it’s not so much the smartphone itself, but the way you hold it that makes the difference.

To avoid eye problems yourself, hold your phone at least 16 inches away from your face.

And then ponder this:

How can you reach readers online in an environment where reading is actually harmful to their health?

  • Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked in Portland

    Online, constant problem solving (to click or not to click?) and divided attention (you’ve got mail!) lead to cognitive overload. (One researcher even found that reading on the screen temporarily lowers your IQ more than smoking weed!)

    “Try reading a book while doing a crossword puzzle,” writes Nicholas G. Carr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. “That’s the intellectual environment of the Internet.”

    So, in this environment, how do we reach readers online?

    Portland Online Writing workshopAt Get Clicked, Read, Liked and Shared — a two-day online-writing Master Class on July 27-28 in Portland and on Dec. 11-12 in Miami — you'll learn techniques for overcoming the obstacles of reading on the screen to get the word out on the web, in social media and via content marketing.

    • Think Like a Friend, Fan or Follower: Offer news you can use, and watch your reach and influence grow.
    • Create Content Marketing Pieces That Almost Write Themselves: Get our fill-in-the-blanks templates for tipsheets, survey stories and more.
    • Cut Through the Clutter Online: Overcome the obstacles of reading on the screen.
    • Lift Ideas Off the Screen: Draw visitors in, increase open rates — even reach nonreaders — with microcontent.
    • Get an online writing workout with Wylie: Take your blog post, webpage or status update from 'meh' to masterpiece when you practice your new skills on your own work.

    Learn more about the Master Class.

    Register for Online Writing Workshop in Portland.


    Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

    Would you like to hold an in-house Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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