June 2, 2016
Social media apps and websites have opened the door for consumer driven news and content, as well as online streaming of almost anything. Partnered with smartphones and mobile devices, it comes as no surprise that more media is consumed via smartphone, tablet or computer than any other way.
The Media Consumption Breakdown
Smartphone consumption leads the race with people using some sort of mobile web browser or app an average of 220 minutes per day, with television trailing with an average of 168 minutes per day. Even while watching TV, nearly 85% of internet users surf the web. The bottom line—most of us spend around 11 hours a day consuming some form of media. That’s a lot!
Sources of Digital Media
Digital media is as common in our lives as the food in our refrigerators. It’s anything on the Internet, it’s your computer, your e-reader, tablet, desktop computer, smartphone, gaming system and so on. If it’s a form of electronic content, then it’s probably digital media. In fact, if it has an on or off switch, you’re probably using digital media!
Social media and video are the main drivers of digital media consumption, partnered with many forms of traditional media going digital. You can now purchase and read your favorite newspaper from your smartphone or your favorite magazine from your tablet. Television and cable are replaced by Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, and traditional radio is being ousted by Pandora and Spotify.
Traditional media is adapting to a digital world; and, therefore, so are we. Consumers are constantly on-the-go and have become accustomed to instant access to anything. By having access anytime, anywhere, we have increased our media consumption, as well as the time we spend using a digital device.
Digital Media’s Effect on Your Health
What makes digital media different is the production process. It’s made from tiny pixels that come together and form fuzzy graphics, called pixilation. This pixilation means the eye has to work double-time to dissect and understand the image, leading to digital eye strain. More than nine out of 10 people with digital eye strain use two or more devices simultaneously. The reason traditional forms of media, like magazines and newspapers, are easier on the eyes is because their graphics are solid lines and shapes – your eyes don’t have to work as hard to understand the text and images.
As we continue to seek mobile and digital devices for our media fix, we are exposing ourselves to Harmful Blue Light and digital eye strain at a higher rate. Harmful Blue Light, located at the 415–455nm range on the visible light spectrum, is virtually everywhere – indoors and out: computer screens, tablets, smart phones, gaming devices, LED TVs & LED lights, fluorescent lights, and of course from the sun. Increasing our time using digital devices paired with the fact that we are living longer means we are more exposed to Harmful Blue Light, which has been linked to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for adults over the age of 50.
The eyes were designed to view the world with the assistance of light, not to stare directly at it. This is why you are taught not to stare directly at the sun or to watch a solar eclipse. The Harmful Blue Light that smartphones and digital devices produce is similar in nature to the sunlight that can damage your eyes.
Talk to your eyecare professional about solutions, including Eyezen lenses, at your yearly comprehensive eye exam.