When we were small, our parents used to tell us not to watch too much TV or not to sit close to it. In addition, they told us not to watch TV in a dark room. According to them, taking these actions would damage our eyes. 

Now, we also give the same advice to the next generation although after we became adults, we stop following these rules sometimes. But watching TV in the dark, watching too much TV or sitting too close really do eye damage?

Can TV Damage Your Eyes

Myth vs Research​

For decades, the research studies on this topic also continued to reach this conclusion. Although, now this is a common knowledge that watching excess TV damages eyes and doctors over the years recommend watching a moderate amount of TV a day.  According to these research studies, the reason behind this issue is the radiation that emits from the electronic screen.

One of the major myths, when you are watching TV, is that excess watching can damage your eyes. This myth can be traced back to 1960s when General Motors launched new TV models with extreme radiation. According to the experts, the amount of radiation released by these TVs was 100,000 times more than the federal health officials today consider safe for human eyes.

Although the company quickly recalled these models and repaired them, the stigma continues to this day for any model. Although since last decade or so, the electronic emissions of the TV do not remain an issue, especially after the advent of plasma and LCD flat screens, this misconception continues to remain popular with consumers worldwide. However, it is a fact that many of us experience issues related to vision one time or another. So, what is the reason behind this?

Actual Reasons for Eye Strain​

According to Dr Duffner, a researcher working at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, watching excessive TV or from an odd perspective, or in front of a screen does not do any type of physical damage to the eye. However, they can cause eye strain or eye fatigue if the viewer is sitting very close to the TV or watches it from an odd perspective.

 Dr, Duffener further states that watching TV also hurts the eyes as their main focus is on what is happening on the screen. As a result, the eyes are exhausted by focusing on only one region for a longer time period. Also, according to him, the pixel quality of the image has a major effect on the eyes.

This is also the case when you watch TV in a dark room. This is mainly because the eyes need to adjust constantly for different lighting in the room. Although it is a common perception that the light emitted by TV stays the same, the truth is the intensity continues to change. This is because the level of lighting related to the backgrounds and the scenes continues to change from show to show. For proving this, you can make this simple observation.

While a show is on, check the opposite wall. You would see that the level of lighting continues to change from scene to scene. Further, it changes when show switches to commercials and vice versa. The constant change in the intensity of light makes the muscles of your eye work harder, and that in turn, leads to eye strain. If not detected and treated in time, it may lead to dry eye syndrome. According to experts, dry eye syndrome is an important cause of glaucoma.

This is also the case with the electronic screens of various other devices, such as computers, tablets, and e-readers as the manufacturing of the screens of these electronic devices is similar to the TV screens; hence the use of these devices also requires the same precautions. Some symptoms related to eye strain include burning eyes, irritated or watery eyes, sensitivity to light, headaches, blurred vision, and overworked or tired feeling.

Tips to Reduce Eye Strain​

  • Some measures that you can take to reduce eye strain are as follows-
  • First and foremost, do not watch TV in a dark room.
  • Watch television with a light on. Lighting around the TV screen (also known as bias lighting) results in a reduction in fatigue, less visual discomfort, and quick response of the brain to visual cues.
  • When working at night, keep a low lighting source.
  • Adjust various functions such as brightness and contrast to adjust the glare from the electronic screen.
  • Adjust your seat as per the lighting source in the room.
  • When watching electronic screens, take a break every 30 minutes. At this time, do not focus on any single object. You can also go out of the room for an errand. The main goal of taking a break is to give the eyes some rest from the screen. You can also close your eyes for some time to break the focus and give them some rest.
  • Try to blink the eyes often when you are watching the screen, also ensure that you are sitting at some distance from the electronic screen.
  • If you watch TV often or work using a computer or TV screen, learn eye exercises and do them often. Further, you can also ask your physician for eye vitamins.

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It’s evident that although watching TV is not affected by radiation, watching too much TV or any other electronic screen for that matter may cause eye strain.  If the eye strain is not detected or treated, it may result in serious health issues such as dry eye syndrome and glaucoma. 

Thus, all you have to do to reduce the possibility of eye damage when watching TV is take all the above precautions. Happy viewing!

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