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Britons spend an average of 11 hours a day staring at screens


  • The average Briton spends 77.3 hours a week looking at a screen
  • They only spend 12 hours and 58 minutes quality time with their family each week and five hours and 44 minutes walking outside
  • When people are concentrating on a screen they blink less and this can cause sore, dry, red eyes
  • Experts have also warned smartphones may lead to short sightedness

Britons spend an average of 11 hours a day staring at screens, new research has revealed.

The amount of time looking at computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, e-books and TVs adds up to 77.3 hours a week, it has shown.

As screens seemingly take over people’s lives, Britons report that they spend only 12 hours and 58 minutes quality time with their families each week.

They also admit to only spending a tiny five hours and 44 minutes walking outside each week.

While experts are still undecided on how much staring at screens affects people’s eyesight, research has shown that while a person is concentrating on reading, playing computer games or watching videos their blink rate is reduced by a third.

This reduced blinking can leading to a higher rate of tear evaporation, one of the leading causes of dry eye syndrome which is also linked to other eye complaints.

‘While many people may not think the symptoms associated with these common eye complaints are serious, if left untreated these conditions can become chronic, and in some cases can lead to permanent damage to your eyes.

‘Because of the time spent staring at screens, we would expect younger people to start experiencing eye problems.’

The survey of 2,000 people commissioned by Spectrum Thea eye care specialists found that more than half of respondents had suffered from symptoms associated with dry eyes.

The poll also revealed that 30 per cent of Britons would just look up their symptoms on the internet if they developed dry eyes and, worryingly, ten per cent said they would ignore the symptoms altogether

However, it did reveal that Britons aren't completely clueless when it comes to their eye health as the average respondent had been to the opticians within the last year.

Scott Mackie, consultant optometrist and founder of Mackie Opticians said: ‘Many people think eye tests are just about checking for problems with sight, but when you visit your optician they will also look at the general health of your eyes.

‘Many of the most common eye complaints can be easily diagnosed and treated from home but if left untreated these conditions can lead to permanent damage to the eyes.

'It is essential people can identify these symptoms and seek the right help and advice before the problem gets worse, and the damage more permanent.’

The research comes after a leading laser eye surgeon claimed that rates of short sightedness have soared among young people because of smartphone use.

David Allamby, founder of Focus Clinics, said there has been a 35 per cent increase in the number of people with advancing myopia - short sightedness - since the launch of smartphones in 1997.

Mr Allamby thinks the problem is so widespread that he has dubbed it ‘screen sightedness’.

He says that half of Britons own smartphones and that they spend an average of two hours a day using them.

This, along with time spent using computers and watching television, is putting children and young people at risk of permanently damaging their sight.

Research found that the average smartphone user holds the handset 30 cm from their face - with some people holding it just 18cm away - compared to newspapers and books, which are held 40cm away from the eyes.

According to Mr Allamby, excessive screen watching at close proximity keeps the genes that control myopia activated well beyond the age that short-sighted would historically have stabilised - about 21.

Myopia used to stop developing in people’s early 20s but now it is now seen progressing throughout the 20s, 30s, and even 40s.

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