PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Doctors warn staring at smartphones, tablets and televisions can be damaging to your eyes due to blue light.
Most digital screens are backlit and emit blue light, or high-energy visible light wavelengths, which can cause irritation and possibly long-term damage to the retina.
“Phones, tablets are a big source of that wavelength, 430 to 440 nanometers. That is very damaging to the eyes,” said Dr. Michael Cross, an ophthalmologist.
The devices are usually held close to the face.
“Shorter wavelength but higher in energy, it penetrates through the lens to get to the back of the eye to the retina,” said Cross.
There is some concern blue light from technology can lead to macular degeneration, which is a serious condition that can cause blindness.
“I work on computers so the optometrist always tells us that we should look away every 20 minutes,” said parent Joseph Slavik.
There are other things you can do to minimize your risk.
“There are certain apps you can put on Android devices and Apple devices, most of them free of charge that will actually filter out that blue light,” said Cross.
There are also special blue light blocking lenses.
The average adult in the United States spends eight hours and 47 minutes a day on devices. Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include blurry vision, trouble focusing, red, dry eyes and headaches.