As we head into the long, dark and cold winter months, binge watching your favorite TV shows may become unavoidable. And let’s be honest, services like Netflix and Crave make it entirely too easy to do so.
Adults in Canada between the ages of 18 to 34 spend an average of 17.7 hours per week watching TV, that’s around 2.5 hours each day. However, many fail to acknowledge the negative effects the extended hours in front of the television has on the body, which in large part has to do with your eyes.
Overexposure to the TV can cause eye muscle fatigue, resulting in headaches and the reduced ability for our eyes to change focus when looking away from the TV. We also blink half as much while watching TV, causing our eyes to become dry, red and irritated. A lot of people will experience these common symptoms; however, many don’t recognize it’s due to eye strain. Instead, they’ll chalk it up to a simpler explanation, such as being tired.
Ironically, TV is a common contributor in people’s inability to sleep at night. Watching TV during the evening hours impacts our mind’s ability to unwind, and also suppresses melatonin production, which our brain produces to regulate our sleep cycle.
Too much TV time may also have other negative health effects, including a slowed down metabolism, muscle cramps, and poor blood circulation.
To discuss any recurring symptoms that might be the result of eye muscle strain, or perhaps a more serious vision condition, make sure to book regular appointments with a local doctor of optometry.