iPhone and eyeStrain: Study finds smartphone users hold screen too close

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by Wendy Rigby / KENS 5

kens5.com

Posted on August 1, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 2:52 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- A new study shows the way we use smartphones may force our eyes to work harder than usual, creating headaches and eye strain.

More and more adults and children are using smartphones to do everything from text messaging to looking up directions to surfing the web.
 
Your smartphone may be dulling your vision. That’s the conclusion of a new study in the July issue of Optometry and Vision Science.
 
Researchers found people hold newspapers, magazines and books an average of 16 inches away from their eyes. But they tend to hold smartphones closer, about 14 inches away. Some people held them as close as seven inches away.
 
You see people using these handy devices everywhere. More than a third of American adults have them.
 
Dr. Dan Johnson is an ophthalmologist who sees patients at UT Medicine in San Antonio. He said when eyes work harder, people may experience symptoms.
 
“You could just feel like your eyes are straining,” he explained. “Over time it could give you headaches. You may feel like your vision starts getting blurry as time goes on.”
 
One step you can take to keep from taxing your eyes is to increase the font size on your device. Webpage fonts are only 80 percent the size of newspaper print. In some cases, it’s as small as 30 percent.
 
Some heavy smartphone users may opt for a specific pair of reading glasses.
 
“But certainly is there’s somebody that’s looking at a very small device for long periods of time, it may be reasonable for them to get a pair of glasses that will help them be more comfortable if they’re uncomfortable when they doing it and they’re really reliant on that device,” Johnson said.
 
The authors of this study are now looking at eye strain for people who use Kindles and iPads. Those results have not yet been published.

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