Is It Possible To Go Blind Temporarily Because Of Screen?

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A pictures shows binary code reflected from a computer screen in a woman's eye on October 22, 2012. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Be it entertainment, work or leisure; everything is mostly done digitally. These days, phones, computers, and other such devices have become a necessity. On average, a person stares at the screen for about 3.5 hours a day. I, myself, staring at a computer for entirely too many hours a day and I’m sure you do too.

I grew up listening to my parents saying that if I use a computer for a long time, it will eventually make me go blind. This particular incident, I can say with utmost certainty, has occurred in almost every household. While growing up, and to be very honest, till now, I always believed this saying to be true. However, becoming blind due to excess screen time is a myth, at least permanently. Becoming blind for shorter, temporary periods isn’t unheard of.

There were so many cases in fact of blurry vision, headaches, watery eyes and tired eyes due to excess staring at the screen, that a term was coined for it that is computer vision syndrome. CVS is the term used for eye strain caused due to staring at a computer for too long.

The symptoms such as straining of the eyes, dryness, redness etc. are generally temporary if you stop staring at the screen for a while. The reasoning behind CVS is interestingly enough, our rate of blinking. According to the University of Iowa, it’s because while we are using computers or phones, our rate of blinking drops by a third which results in our eyes becoming dry. However, this effect is alleviated once you give your eyes some rest.

Though extremely rare, the reason for temporary blindness is actually related to CVS as one of its common symptoms is headache or migraines which are labelled as a significant reason for temporary blindness. The overall consensus basically says that you don’t have to worry about popping a blood vessel in your eye (or going temporarily blind as a result) if you’ve been staring at a screen for too long.

That said, taking frequent breaks from the screen definitely should be put to practice. No matter how temporary the effects are, steps should be taken to keep them to a minimum.