NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jose Diaz says he spends about four hours a day on his phone. A new study in the journal Scientific Reports, which claims that smartphones could damage his eyesight, has him wanting to cut back.
“It’s really freaky. It could scare me a lot,” Diaz told CBS New York’s Hazel Sanchez on Tuesday.
Researchers at the University of Toledo in Ohio have found that eye exposure to blue light, which is emitted in the bright glow from most smartphone, laptop and tablet screens, can cause cells in the retina to produce a toxin that causes vision loss.
Dr. Jessica Lee, a retina surgeon at New York Eye Infirmary at Mount Sinai, noted that in the study researchers used direct blue light on the cells of mice, not everyday blue light exposure to human eyes.
“This was a study that was done in the lab, and it wasn’t done every day with the light we see, that we’re exposed to,” Lee said. “I don’t think you need to freak out. You don’t have to run out to the store and get a screen protector. Sure it can’t hurt, but is it absolutely necessary and crucial to prevent blue light damage? I think we have to wait for more research.”
Tom Brant, a hardware analyst for PC Magazine, said most updated computers and phones have software built in that can adjust blue light. In the iPhone, for example, go to “Settings” and search for “Nightshift.” From there, you can schedule your phone to lower the blue light or you can adjust it manually.
For phones without that feature, you can download a free app like Blue Light Filter. You can also buy screen protectors that limit blue light exposure, which aren’t meant to be removed.
“I think that you are better to look at the settings and do it from the software because that’s going to be much easier than applying a screen protector,” Brant said.
While the study may have some people worried about excessive screen time, opthamologists remind us the sun actually gives us a stronger level of blue light than our digital devices.
So maybe the best advice is to give your eyes a break once in a while and read a book.