Using smartphones for too long "causes visual discomfort"

Using smartphones for too long "causes visual discomfort"

People who use their smartphones for prolonged periods of time may find that they suffer from visual discomfort and other symptoms such as nausea and headaches, according to a new study carried out by experts in the US.

In a report published in the Journal of Vision, entitled The Zone of Comfort: Predicting Visual Discomfort with Stereo Displays, experts assert that prolonged viewing of mobile devices and other stereo 3D devices could cause many uncomfortable symptoms, including eye tiredness,

The specialists working on the study claim that the main cause may be the demand which is placed on the eyes to focus on the screen and simultaneously adjust to the distance of the content.

Report author Martin Banks, professor of optometry and vision science at the University of California, Berkeley, explained: "When watching stereo 3D displays, the eyes must focus - that is, accommodate - to the distance of the screen because that"s where the light comes from.

"At the same time, the eyes must converge to the distance of the stereo content, which may be in front of or behind the screen."

The experts came to the conclusion after conducting a series of experiments on 24 adults, observing the interaction between the viewing distance and the direction of the conflict and whether placing the content in front of or behind the screen affects viewer discomfort.

They found that with devices such as mobile phones and desktop displays which are viewed at a short distance, stereo content placed in front of the screen was less comfortable than content placed behind the screen.

Additionally, when viewing at a longer distance, such as on a cinema screen, stereo content placed behind the screen was less comfortable.

Mr Banks added that discomfort associated with viewing stereo 3D is a "major problem" that could limit the use of technology. 

by Alexa Kaczka

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