Effects of the excessive use of electronic screens on vision and emotional state

Efeitos do uso excessivo de telas eletrônicas na visão e no estado emocional

Viviane Fernanda da Silva Barros Raissa Adriana da Silva Gomes de Oliveira Robson Borges Maia Nilma Fernandes Edna Motta Almodin About the authors

ABSTRACT

Objective

To investigate relations between electronic screen use and eye health in a representative sample of the Brazilian population.

Methods

Data were collected online and analyzed at a private Brazilian hospital (Provisão Hospital, Maringá, Brazil). Male and female individuals aged 12 to 35 years participated in the study. A population-based cross-sectional survey based on a questionnaire developed using the Google Forms interface was carried out. The questionnaire was answered anonymously in order to ensure the confidentiality of data and the privacy of participants. Data were collected between October 13, 2020, and January 30, 2021.

Results

A total of 200 questionnaires were completed. Most responders were young people aged 18 to 27 years. Daily electronic device use time reported by responders ranged from more than 5 hours (150; 75.5%) to 3 to 5 hours/day (28; 14%) or 2 to 3 hours/day (16; 8%). Only a small proportion of responders (2.5%) used these devices less than 1 hour per day. Most participants had myopia (164; 84%) and/or astigmatism (151; 75.5%), whereas keratoconus was less prevalent (34; 17%). However, 92 participants were unable to say whether they had these diseases or not. Most participants reported eye symptoms after screen use (red eyes, fatigue, dry and gritty eyes and blurred vision). Mental issues such as smartphone dependence and difficulties to communicate while using electronic devices were also addressed. Most responders reported dependence and communication problems.

Conclusions

Most young people in this sample had sings of eye disease, including keratoconus. Smartphone dependence and addition was also observed. Findings presented may inform future studies and help health authorities to properly guide public health strategies aimed at eye disease prevention.

Electronic devices; Vision; Ocular health

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