Let’s start with a question? Do you use a smartphone or a palasa phone? If you use a smartphone, then you are part of the over 15.5 million Nigerians who have one and spend about 193 minutes daily on the device either browsing, texting or making calls.
If your phone is a palasa one, abeg waka pass…you are not included in this figure. The good side is that, while several of these smartphone owners risk damage to their eyes, you are not involved. Twaale for your palasa phone and double the twaale if it is chinko.
There are diverse ways in which smartphone screens can harm your eyes and your health. When you stare at your phone screen, you blink far less often than you do when staring at other people or at the wider environment. As a result, those who spend a lot of time on a smartphone are increasingly at risk of dry eye disease or dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is caused by a lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye.
In simple terms, the eyes do not produce enough tears to provide a protective film of moisture it needs. Over a long period, this results in constant eye irritation and damage.
Ok…. you don’t have dry eye syndrome…what of computer vision syndrome? Computer Vision Syndrome, also called Digital Eye Strain, refers to a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged smart phone use. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of time spent on the phone. Symptoms of digital eye strain include dry eyes, headache and blurred vision. Digital eye strain is also influenced by the brightness of your screen.
Blue light is part of the spectrum of light. While the natural source is the sun, we have now brought blue light inside by way of digital screens found on smartphones. Blue light has a short wavelength and it produces high amounts of energy. Repeated and constant exposure to blue light can cause eye strain, fatigue, headaches, and sleeplessness. There may also be a link between cataracts and blue light, though the jury is still out.
Smartphones have come to stay so the challenge becomes how to protect your eyes while still getting maximum benefits from our phones. The 20/20/20 rule has been found helpful. How does this rule work? Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. This short break is enough to reduce eye strain. Blink more often too, because it helps moisten the eyes and reduces dryness.
Remember to adjust the brightness of your phone screen and keep the phone a bit further from your eyes. To achieve this, you may need to adjust your font size if need be. Avoid excessive use of phone in the dark or in dim light.
So when next you see someone with a palasa phone, be careful of your reaction. It may not be because of money, it may be for health reasons. Abeg, protect your eyes.