If you’re expecting more on radar, fighter pilots and WWII (see our previous post Do carrots help you see in the dark?) then I’m afraid I’m all out of action stories. I do have a tear-jerker though…
So, you’re all grown up and you’ve discovered that, despite your parents’ favourite chestnut, sitting too close to the telly has not resulted in square eyes. Yours are still round too right?
Fact or Fiction?
In fact, sitting too close to the TV or staring at a computer screen isn’t actually bad for your eyes either. Well, not in the long-term.
Kids sit close to the telly because they can. Unlike adults, children don’t generally suffer from eyestrain when looking at things close up. However, it could be a sign of nearsightedness so this might be worth investigating.
For adults glued to the screen, what actually happens is that we forget to blink. We’re so caught up in a gory, flesh-baring episode of Game of Thrones, that we kinda forget to water our peepers.
The sciencey bit
The tear film in our eye is an outer layer of liquid that polishes the surface of the cornea. It’s full-time job in life is to help us to focus, flush out anything we don’t want or need and reduces the friction associated with blinking and eye movement.
It’s a bit like a bath. That’s right, our cornea and conjunctiva get to lie in a bath all day!
If you don’t run the bath (blink), things are going to get dry. You’ll feel like you are straining your eyes which often results in tiredness and sometimes headaches.
A recent Medibank health survey (2014) found that Australian adults are spending close to 9 hours a day staring at a screen whether for leisure and/or work.
For many, that’s more than the time spent sleeping! Yikes.
What to do
If you’re concerned that your kid might be nearsighted, take a trip to the optician to find out if they might need glasses.
For us grown ups, step one is to blink more during movie night. Other sensible advice might be to choose a tear-jerker. Beaches anyone?
Take breaks from looking at the screen. This probably isn’t anything new to you, but it is easy to get caught up in a task and suddenly, hours have flown by and achey eyes have crept up on us.
You can also try looking up and focussing on something in the distance every now and then.