Last month we talked about how microwaves don’t give you cancer and a lot of you were relieved by that truth. So let’s take it a step further and talk about the other most used tech in the house. Gadgets with screens. More so or phones, laptops, computers and televisions. As a child, I grew up with the notion from my parents stating that sitting too close to the TV or watching too much of it would damage my eyes.
Despite still finding my way to watching TV for hours on end, the fear never left my head. So the question is, does watching too much TV actually damage your eyes? Let’s find out.
Myth: Sitting too close to the TV is bad for the Eyes.
Well, at one time, the warning was based on truth. Back in the 1960s, more and more families could afford televisions. Of course, these weren’t the flat-screen LCD televisions we enjoy today but big, boxy affairs, full of tubes and wires and bulbs.
General Electric Company (GE) disclosed the fact that many of their colour televisions were, due to a factory error, emitting excessive X-rays.
Understandably, overexposure to X-rays can be dangerous and at the time, health officials stated the excessive levels of radiation wouldn’t harm most viewers.
However, they did warn against children sitting close to the television for more than an hour, due to the X-rays shooting through the vents on the bottom of the set.
Soon enough, GE recalled and repaired the faulty television sets. Nevertheless, the threat of physically damaging X-rays remained in people’s thoughts. So, that’s one reason why Mom and Dad warn us not to spend too much time watching TV. But here’s the truth
To date, there’s no evidence that watching TV damages someone’s eyes. Especially not with LCD TV’s we have today.
In fact, The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says that kids can actually focus up close without eyestrain better than adults. This is why they so often develop the habit of sitting right in front of the television.
However, when using a TV or computer for long periods of time, the eyes blink less than normal (like they do when reading or performing other close work). Combine this with not changing your focal point for many minutes or hours and you’ll start to feel some serious eye fatigue. This causes a few effects.
It will cause temporary eyestrain, fatigue and sometimes headaches. It is best to always take a break when watching TV. The best way is to do the 20/20 rule.
It’s also important to monitor your sitting position and durations of time you spend watching TV or playing games. Also, if you find your child seated too close to the TV, It may be a sign of nearsightedness. Your child/you might be suffering from nearsightedness and you need to visit an optician to have this checked.