In the fight to stay healthy, technology can give us an edge in our personal and professional lives. We can use our digital devices to improve our diets, track our fitness efforts, or help us with medication compliance.
And that’s on top of all the other wonderful technological advancements that have improved our healthcare system by providing better patient care, improving relationships with patients, and faster medical results that go straight to your phone.
When it comes to women’s and men’s primary care, Portland physicians are increasingly seeing patients who exhibit signs of technology overuse, particularly with the current reliance on smartphones in our day-to-day lives. After all, Americans spend nearly 12 hours a day looking at multiple digital screens—and that number keeps going up. A recent Deloitte study found that 60 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-34 admitted to smartphone overuse. This leads us to ask the question, “What are some negative effects of technology?”
THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF TECHNOLOGY ON HEALTH
We are by no means claiming you shouldn’t use technology. In fact, we love staying connected. Instead, we want to encourage smart use of technology that takes advantage of its conveniences and counteracts the side effects caused by overuse. By considering the following symptoms linked to technology addiction, you can continue harnessing its power to improve your overall well-being while staying connected. Here are a few key considerations around technology use and how it affects our health.
DIGITAL EYE STRAIN
When we gaze at a screen for long periods of time, we often forget to blink. In fact, research has shown that digital eye strain reduces our blink rate by half, which means the tears that protect our eyes evaporate without being replaced. Additionally, reading the smaller fonts on a smartphone or other portable device can intensify the strain.
As a result, nearly 60 percent of US adults report symptoms of digital eye strain, which include dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, burning, itching, difficulty focusing and pain in the neck or shoulders. For most people, eye strain merely causes discomfort but it doesn’t typically result in any long-term problems.