Does Smartphone Use in the Dark Really Damage Your Retina?

How many of us stay up late playing on our smartphones? If you’re doing this in the dark, you could be messing with your vision. Digital devices can also cause a disruption in your sleep schedule and raise your risk for certain health problems; the reason for this is blue light.

What is Blue Light? What Makes it a Problem?

Blue light comes from the full light spectrum, so you’re exposed to it when you’re outdoors going through your day. But, when you’re at home – at night, in the dark – there are high levels of blue light emitted from your digital devices. As the eyes are exposed to blue light, the retina breaks down.

The human eye has a hard time blocking out blue light. Instead, almost all of the light goes through the cornea and lens and into the retina where damage occurs. In fact, the American Macular Degeneration Foundation states that blue light exposure can lead to the onset of macular degeneration.

Additionally, sitting in bed on your smartphone can cause eye strain and vision problems such as dry eyes, burning sensations, blurred vision, and strained eyes. With so many people using digital technology on a daily basis, optometrists and ophthalmologists are hearing more and more of these complaints.

Contact and Glasses Wearers May be More at Risk

It’s also worth pointing out that people who wear corrective lenses may be at a greater risk for damage. Wearing glasses or contacts helps you see more clearly, but they are not designed for tasks that take place on tablets and smartphones. If you do wear corrective lenses, it’s recommended that you wear computer glasses as much as possible when using your device.

Taking Steps to Reduce Eye Damage

Knowing that smartphone use in the dark can damage your retina, it’s important to take the proper precautions to protect your vision. Here are some ways to do this.

● Avoid using digital devices at night, in the dark
● Limit your use of digital devices during the day
● Take frequent breaks when using a computer or tablet
● Purchase computer glasses if you wear corrective lenses
● Create comfortable rooms with no glare
● See your eye doctor regularly
● Incorporate eye vitamins into your diet (per your doctor)
● Use the ‘blue light filter’ or ‘night shift’ setting if your phone has it

It may sound difficult to give up time on your smartphone, but doing so can help you sleep better, avoid health problems and preserve your vision. We think that’s a small price to pay for such important health benefits!