August 19, 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?

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