Small Screen Squinting Syndrome
The average American adult is spending more than 17 hours a day staring at screens, according to recent research polling. This number has been steadily increasing since the pandemic began, with the average US adult spending around 5 hours per day on their laptop, between 4½ to 5 hours per day using their phone, another 4½ to 5 hours per day watching TV, and around 3½ hours per day playing video games. This means that US adults will spend approximately 44 years of their life staring at screens!
What does this all mean for the average American? Well, nearly 6 in 10 people who work on computers experience Computer Vision Syndrome. Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome include eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, neck pain, and back pain. Plus, recent research has shown that all that time staring at screens throughout the day can also lead to impaired sleep, obesity, and worsened mental health. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a new study published on August 31, 2022 suggests that all the excessive blue light from our gadgets may accelerate the aging process and cause wrinkles.
“Excessive exposure to blue light from everyday devices, such as TVs, laptops and phones, may have detrimental effects on a wide range of cells in our body, from skin and fat cells, to sensory neurons,” said Dr Jadwiga Giebultowicz, a professor at the Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University and a senior author of this study. “Our study suggests that avoidance of excessive blue light exposure may be a good anti-aging strategy.”
What Is Small Screen Squinting Syndrome or Computer Face?
The technology that we use today has come a long way in a short amount of time. For instance, the first cellular phone call, on a device that looks like a giant plastic brick, was made in 1973. Ten years later, the first handheld mobile phone, which also looks like a giant plastic brick, came out in 1983. After that, the first touchscreen phone became available in 1992. Then in the mid-1990s, flip phones became all the rage. That was until the modern smartphone, which is the basis for what most of us use today, came out in 2007. Since then, technological advances have continued.
While these technological advances have surely impacted our society in a positive way, there are also some downsides, as well. Psychological effects of overusing technology include isolation, depression, and anxiety, while physical health effects are eyestrain, poor posture, sleep issues, and decreased physical activity, which could contribute to obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even premature death.
New findings also show that the technological devices we use day in and day out can negatively impact our looks. Cosmetic surgeons have recently acknowledged that women are starting to develop Computer Face, which is something that office workers who spend lots of hours in front of screens seem to experience due to tech neck, or frequently looking down at their computers, phones, and tablets. These professionals can end up with saggy jowls, turkey neck, and deep wrinkles on their forehead and around their eyes, according to cosmetic surgeons.
Then there’s Small Screen Squinting Syndrome, which occurs due to people spending lots of time staring at their tiny smartphone screens. This constant squinting – hours and hours each day staring at a miniscule screen – increases the formation of facial wrinkle lines, and deepens them at any age, due to the amount of strain placed on the underlying facial muscles of a person’s forehead, between their eyebrows, and at the corner of their eyes. This can make women in their 30s appear as if they have the same facial wrinkle lines between their eyebrows and around their eyes as a 50 or 60 year old woman.
Does Squinting Cause Wrinkles?
If you’re still wondering, “Does squinting cause wrinkles?” The answer is: YES!
Small Screen Squinting Syndrome, or squinting while staring at your computer or smartphone screen, is one of the most common reasons as to why your eyes may wrinkle prematurely. That’s because the repetitive movement of squinting can lead to crow’s feet and other signs of aging, such as forehead wrinkles, frown lines, and glabellar lines.
How To Prevent Smartphone, Tablet, and Computer Facial Wrinkle Damage Due To Small Screen Squinting Syndrome
Since the facial movements you make on a regular basis, such as squinting, furrowing your brow, and raising your eyebrows, can cause your muscles in those areas to contract, and thus make your skin wrinkle, here are 5 tips to prevent smartphone, tablet, and computer facial wrinkle damage due to Small Screen Squinting Syndrome.
Take Breaks To Limit Your Screen Time
Taking regular screen breaks will help minimize the issues caused by Small Screen Squinting Syndrome and Computer Vision Syndrome. For best results, try the 20-20-20 rule, which states that every 20 minutes you should look at something approximately 20 feet away for a full 20 seconds. Just make sure that your smartphone isn’t the thing you’re looking at when you’re taking a break from your computer screen!
Become More Aware Of The Facial Expressions You Make While Using Your Tech
Some cosmetic surgeons recommend placing a mirror near your work station so you can see your face staring back at you at different points throughout the day. This will allow you to notice if you’re constantly frowning or making angry faces while you work. Don’t be alarmed at what you may see staring back at you at first. It’s completely normal to make grumpy looking faces when you’re stressed at work. However, it’s up to you to remember to breathe and take a break so you’re not constricting those same muscles all day long. Also, try to get in the habit of relaxing your face at different points throughout the day.
Update Your Home And Work Environments
You can eliminate some of the issues caused by Small Screen Squinting Syndrome and Computer Vision Syndrome by updating your home and work environments. Consider reducing glare and harsh reflections on your computer screen by modifying the lighting in the rooms that you’re in at home and work. Maybe that means closing window shades or working in a different area. You can also change the brightness or contrast on your smartphone and computer screens, and use blue light blocking glasses when you know you’ll be spending a lot of time staring at a screen on a given day.
Perfect Your Posture
To prevent wrinkles while using your smartphone, computer, and tablet, focus on perfecting your posture. This means not looking down while using your smartphone, computer, or tablet – these screens should all be at eye level whenever you use them. Yes, this means you should also hold your phone up at eye level when using it, too! This will help you avoid getting the dreaded tech neck, and all the miserable symptoms that come with it.
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