In view of the tenacious global pandemic, everyone has had to adapt to either studying or working from home. Regardless of which, daily digital screen time has increased significantly, for individuals around the world. This has led to the hot topic of screen fatigue, otherwise known as screen burnout. What is screen fatigue? Is it real?
Screen fatigue is very much real.
Although it may sound like a half-baked excuse, those who sit in front of a screen for hours at a time, would understand the toll that it takes on the body. Screen fatigue refers to the symptoms and consequences your body experiences when you spend too much time staring at a screen. To name a few; headaches, eye strain, dry eyes, tiredness, and the list actually goes on. These symptoms and consequences may not seem so bad, right? However, what happens when you experience them for a prolonged period of time? Recent studies have started referring to sitting in front of the screen as the new smoking, due to the pernicious effects that it can have on the body.
Have you ever realised that after spending a few hours looking at a screen, your vision tends to get a little blurry? Although this blurriness is not permanent and typically goes away after just a few minutes, as your eye strain builds up over time, you may find it hard to recover your vision. With blurriness comes double vision, which is never a good sign. People experience double vision when staring at a screen, because they have overworked the muscles in their eyes, to a point where it cannot maintain enough control to focus on one specific thing.
Many people tend to subconsciously rub their irritated and strained eyes, it is almost like a reflex. Yet, the simple act of rubbing your eyes can lead to infections, scratched corneas, burst blood vessels and sometimes even permanent vision loss. Scary, huh?
Moving away from the eye area, screen fatigue can also affect your posture! From stiff necks to hunched backs – it can silently turn you into the Hunchback of Notre Dame, if you are not careful. Being so fixated on screens, people usually hold their necks in stiff and irregular positions, causing the muscles to tense and lock into place. This then leads to cramps, muscle pulls, discomfort, and sometimes permanent damage.
Aside from this, is the common intense back pain that most people experience from sitting in front of a laptop or computer. Hunching in front of a screen is almost a worldwide phenomenon at this point. Most of the time it is done subconsciously because who remembers to always sit straight, right? Still, doing this repeatedly can lead to spinal damage and a plethora of other complications in the long run. Yes, it is time to find the military sergeant in you and work on that posture!
Then, there is the splitting migraines that one can experience. It is difficult to imagine the debilitating pain if you yourself have never had one. It is bad. Migraines can lead to nausea, sweating, poor concentration, dizzy spells, visual issues, and so forth.
Okay, time to take a deep breath. There is no need to throw away all your digital screens just yet. This may all seem a little scary considering that the world has practically gone online and staring at screens is the new normal, almost a necessity. However, the important thing is to be aware of the fact that screen fatigue is a real thing. You and screens should not be joined at the hip. Take the time to educate yourself on what you need to do in order to avoid these detrimental impacts, so that when you do spend time looking at your screens you have the upper hand. It may be hard at first, but you will get the hang of it! Start small; be kind to yourself.