Many of us spend the bulk of our day peering at computer screens. Reading this article means there's a good chance you're looking at one right now.
But does looking at a computer screen damage your eyes? Brisbane optometry professor Nathan Efron does not consider computer screens "harmful" to our eyes.
But he admits if you use one a lot, you increase your risk of becoming slightly more short-sighted – where your eyes focus well only on close objects while more distant objects appear blurred. This is especially the case for children and young adults, whose eyes are still developing.
In the shorter term, prolonged viewing of a computer screen can make any slight existing vision defects more noticeable. It can also give you what is sometimes known as "computer vision syndrome" – eye strain, headaches, gritty eyes and blurry vision. But this is only temporary and can be minimised by:
Adjusting the screen display so the contrast is high and the brightness feels comfortable.
Having lighting that does not produce glare on the screen.
Giving your eyes regular rests from looking at the screen (The Optometrists Association of Australia recommends you do this for five to ten minutes every one to two hours of computer use. It's a good time to make phone calls or do other tasks.)