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What happens when you stare at a screen for too long?

ANSWER

Staring at a computer or phone screen for too long can cause:

  • Eyestrain
  • Blurry vision
  • Trouble focusing at a distance
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain

SOURCES:

National Eye Institute: "Eye Health Tips."

American Optometric Association: "Proper Nutrition Is Critical to Eye Health," "Antioxidants and Age-Related Eye Disease," "Diabetes Is the Leading Cause of Blindness Among Most Adults," "Good Vision Throughout Life," "Recommended Eye Exam Frequency for Pediatric Patients and Adults," "Shopping Guide for Sunglasses," "UV Protection With Contact Lenses," "Glaucoma," "Computer Vision Syndrome."

Archives of Ophthalmology, September 2007.

National Eye Institute: "Facts About Diabetic Retinopathy," "Finding the Right Eye Protection."

Prevent Blindness.org: "Vision Problems in the U.S."

AllAboutVision: "Eye Exam Costs and When to Have an Eye Exam."

Medline Plus: "Nicotine Addiction and Withdrawal."

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler on April 18, 2018

SOURCES:

National Eye Institute: "Eye Health Tips."

American Optometric Association: "Proper Nutrition Is Critical to Eye Health," "Antioxidants and Age-Related Eye Disease," "Diabetes Is the Leading Cause of Blindness Among Most Adults," "Good Vision Throughout Life," "Recommended Eye Exam Frequency for Pediatric Patients and Adults," "Shopping Guide for Sunglasses," "UV Protection With Contact Lenses," "Glaucoma," "Computer Vision Syndrome."

Archives of Ophthalmology, September 2007.

National Eye Institute: "Facts About Diabetic Retinopathy," "Finding the Right Eye Protection."

Prevent Blindness.org: "Vision Problems in the U.S."

AllAboutVision: "Eye Exam Costs and When to Have an Eye Exam."

Medline Plus: "Nicotine Addiction and Withdrawal."

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler on April 18, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

How do I protect my eyes while looking at a computer screen?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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