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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Eyes

In Elemental. More on Medium.

Screen eyes are tired eyes. So what to do about it?

I’d never thought of my childrens’ six underage eyeballs as “plump” until Manoush Zomorodi prompted me to in her recent piece about the tricky ways quarantine behaviors are impacting eyesight. Her description conjured a creepy haunted house moment from elementary school days — my hand plunged into a bowl of perfectly round peeled grapes.

The image is apt. By design, eyeballs are round and — as Robert Roy Britt reports for Elemental — nearsighted ones (like mine) are elongated. …


The 20–20–20 rule can help

Photo: Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

The second I woke up this morning, I picked up my phone and checked my email before catching up on Instagram and Twitter. I spent the next eight or so hours switching between browser tabs for Gmail, Zoom, and Google Docs to work. Any time I took a break, I was back scrolling through social media or reading a few chapters of an e-book on my iPad. When I wrapped up work, I did an hour-long workout using the Nike Training Club app on my phone. Before bed, I watched two episodes of Schitt’s Creek.

Sounds pretty normal, right? Since…


Human eyesight is degrading right before our eyes, and the problem is growing

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Human eyeballs are growing longer, from front to back, at an alarming rate, resulting in a spike in the prevalence of myopia, or nearsightedness. Among Americans, rates of myopia have increased from 25% of people in 1971 to more than 40% today, according to the National Eye Institute. In the major cities of developed Asian countries, the rate exceeds 80% among students as they graduate from high school.

But researchers and eye doctors, many of whom view myopia as a growing epidemic, are largely mystified over the mechanisms behind it. …


A comprehensive guide to one of the body’s most irritating quirks (and how to make it stop)

Credit: filadendron/Getty Images

Jake Cooper was working for a Fortune 50 company in the Midwest when he found out his management job was on the line. Right before Christmas, in the midst of significant layoffs in his office, his right eye started twitching on and off. He chalks it up to extreme stress and fatigue.

“I dreaded going to work, and I wasn’t sleeping well,” Cooper says. “I finally went to my family doctor, and that was the first time I started putting a name to what I was experiencing: generalized anxiety disorder.” …


The effects may not be long-term, but doctors are seeing more people with screen-related vision problems

A man at his desk in the dark. He is in front of a computer while looking down at his iPad and holding an Apple Pencil.
A man at his desk in the dark. He is in front of a computer while looking down at his iPad and holding an Apple Pencil.
Photo by Rietveld Ruben on Unsplash

If you glance at the news today, order groceries, or schedule a playdate for your child, chances are you’re doing it in front of a screen. Research shows that the average American adult spends up to half their waking hours on a phone or other electronic device. It’s starting to impact physical health in a few detrimental ways — including issues with the eyes.

“It’s something I see on a day-to-day basis,” says Dr. Christopher Starr, an ophthalmologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “There are so many people who have symptoms from spending time on digital devices.”

Starr…

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