Six Feet From The Screen?

March 18, 2005
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Most working adults were raised with the belief that viewing a television screen from a distance of less than six feet would cause irreparable damage to the eyes. The radiation, it was believed, would rot the eyes of children as they watched cartoons.

Now, as adults, many of those same people spend countless hours at a computer monitor.

As if health-care concerns weren’t already a problem, should employers be concerned about radiation blindness?

No.

“It actually turned out to be a myth,” said Dr. Thomas Dunning of Grand Rapids Ophthalmology. “It’s the same with the computer. Nothing is emitted that does any real damage to the eyes.”

It is true that terminal-bound employees can develop or increase their level of nearsightedness, Dunning said.

“But that can happen from pretty much sitting up close to anything that your eyes are focusing on,” he said.

This isn’t necessarily so much computer-related as it is an occupational hazard, he said. Accountants often have problems with nearsightedness because they focus on numbers all day.

Eye irritation and dryness is another computer-related problem, Dunning said, because individuals blink less when staring at the screen.   

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