Does watching too much TV ruin our eyesight?


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dog watching television.jpg

I remember as a kid, if I sat in front of the TV for too long, my mom would preach to me about how it was ruining my eyesight. I am sure that my mom isn't the only one who said that, but scientist has disputed that belief. As the scientists put it, the belief that TV can ruin your eyes in simply outdated.

When TV's first came out, they could potentially cause harm. Before the 1950's, TV emitted radiation and of course, after extended periods in front of a TV that gives of radiation, there was a chance someone could develop eye problems. Even into the 1960's, General Electric sold radiation emitting TV's that had about 100,000 times more  radiation than what is considered safe. These faulty TV's were what started the myth that TV would ruin our eyes because GE sent out several warnings to not sit too close to their TV's before they fixed the radiation problem. 

However, today TV's are build with a proper shield that block radiation, therefore radiation affecting our eyesight is no longer an issue. The only harm that TV could really cause if you sit in front of it for a while is eyestrain. Dr. Lee Duffner of the American Academy of Ophthalmology said that TV "won't cause any physical damage to your eyes" but again, it can cause eyestrain or fatigue. Sitting too close to the TV on the floor and  looking up will strain your eyes easier studies have shown and looking at a screen with a bright light that contrasts the environment can also hurt your eyes more. However, eye strain and fatigue can be fixed very easily. People just have to turn off the TV and get some rest and their eyes will get better relatively quickly. 

So ultimately, extended TV watching can only strain your eyes and will not cause any major damage. Other concerns associated with TV are more realistic like it could potentially cause other health risks such as obesity and too much TV could negatively influence kids by having them follow and imitate bad behavior they see. Also, in 2007, there was a study by the Seattle Children's Research Institute found that for every hour per day a baby watches TV, they learn 6 to 8 fewer new vocabulary words than babies who don't watch TV. So TV does have its negative effects, just not any major ones associated with your eyes that would harm your vision. 

So go ahead and watch TV for a little, you won't damage your eyes. 






5 Comments

I've always been told that sitting too close to the TV will ruin my eyes as well! My parents were always saying how you had to sit 5 feet away from the television when watching it because it would kill your eyesight. This reminds me of the stress causing ulcers dilemma, because a lot of the general population still believes it to be true. I think it's interesting that TVs used to emit radiation, because I never knew that! After reading this post, I won't feel bad for sitting close to the television.

So watching TV won't ruin my eye sight but it will kill brain cells. I feel like my grandfather was right when he named it the idiot box.Another myth that was busted was that carrots can improve your eye sight. According to http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2008/03/19/2176569.htm only way it help is if you lack vitamin A already. Its a wonder how many myths is told to us as truths.

Reading this made me wondering if computers take the same precautions and include a shield that blocks anything potentially harmful. We do usually sit closer to a computer screen than a TV screen, and as college students we are using our computers almost all the time. This government site says that "it should be emphasized that there is no evidence that radiation from televisions or computers has resulted in human injury."
You can also buy radiation screen protectors online, but do things like this really work?

Reading things like this makes me wonder, like Dashayna, about how many old myths we hear are actually real. My grandmother always told me not to sit close to the TV and not avoid standing in front of the microwave while it is on. Is this just another myth or can the rays from a microwave cause cancer? It seems that electronics are safer for the most part than many of us think.

I was always told the same thing- that watching tv too much would hurt my eyes and that sitting too close to the television could damage them as well. I am glad to know that this has been proven otherwise. I was going to comment about computers, but I see that Kelsie has already done that. One of the more recent myths I have heard is that sleeping with your cell phone next to you or near you can cause cancer. I decided to research this, and found some scary information. According to this website's summary, "Beyond reasonable doubt, microwave radiation from mobile phones and cordless phones cause a significantly increased risk for brain tumors. In addition, increasing evidence is indicating that it causes disturbed brain function, damage to the genes and other disturbances." This information is absolutely frightening, considering most teenagers never turn their phones off.

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