The short answer is ‘no.’ What your mother told you when she wanted you to clean your room instead of watching cartoons isn’t entirely true. Watching too much TV will not permanently damage your eyes.
So where did this misconception come from? Believe it or not, there was a time that watching TV could be harmful to your vision. In the 1960s, the average family was more able to purchase a TV to keep in their home. They were big, boxy, and unintentionally emitted too many x-rays than was safe for human consumption. But General Electric Company quickly fixed the issue by placing a leaded glass on the TVs that they produced, and now it’s not an issue at all.
Even if watching too much TV will no longer permanently damage your vision, doing so can be uncomfortable due to eyestrain. As much as you don’t want to admit it, you may experience some of the following issues if you watch a lot of TV, sit at your computer all day, or read with insufficient light:
- Burning, sore, or tired eyes
- Watery or dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Trouble focusing your vision
While these aren’t permanent problems, they can be very uncomfortable. Especially if you’re in a position that you have to work on your computer, read, or monitor a screen for extended periods of time, you need a solution! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Position your computer monitor at eye level or below
- Keep your monitor an arm’s distance away
- Reduce glare on your screen by limiting overhead light. Place your keyboard directly in front of your monitor
- Keep the room dimly lit while watching TV to minimize contrast
- Make sure that you use sufficient overhead light while reading
- Shine light directly on work that requires precision, such as sewing, knitting, or needle-pointing
- Don’t worry! You can still watch TV and browse the internet as often as you’d like to. Just be sure to take a few precautions and take breaks often. You’ll be doing yourself a favor!