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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Coronavirus

Students turn to blue light glasses to cope with additional screen time


Savannah Smithson/The Cougar

Savannah Smithson/The Cougar

When the coronavirus pandemic shifted the nation into a virtual setting, students were among many groups of people seeing a sudden spike in their screen time.

While computers allowed courses to continue with a decreased contraction risk, the added blue light exposure can bring harm to some individuals. 

Headaches, eye fatigue and disturbed sleep cycles are some negative health consequences of blue light exposure, according to ABC27.

For biology senior Addison Staples, blue light glasses are a helpful tool to avoid screen-related health concerns and assist with migraines.

The shift to online classes was also a large contributor for biotechnology junior Shareef Abboushi to start wearing blue light glasses. He believes the glasses help decrease eye strain and makes extended periods of screen time more tolerable. 

I started wearing my blue light glasses once classes started,” Abboushi said.

I have found them to be very helpful because it allows there to be less strain on my eyes. I normally get dry eyes when working on any electronic device for an extended period of time, but with the glasses, that problem was no more,” Abboushi added.

Programs such as Apple’s Night Shift are another way to decrease the direct amount of blue light consumed.

Night Shift uses location and geolocation information to gauge sundown at the device’s location, and then switches the product’s screen to warmer tones. Once the sun comes back up, the screen will automatically adjust back to its regular coloring.  

With the virtual course load, Abboushi and Staples alike have been taking advantage of breaks to step away from their computer and from the blue light glare. Abboushi says the increased amount of screen time has caused physical symptoms with his eyes and head. 

I like to take a ten minute break every hour,” Abboushi said. “During this break, I try my best not to look at any electronics to allow my eyes to rest. With classes being online, this has inevitably resulted in additional screen time. This has led to having multiple headaches, dry and red eyes and eye strain.”

As far as online classes go, Staples has found difficulty maintaining academic work ethic through the screen. 

It has absolutely killed (my work ethic),” Staples said. “I feel very unmotivated and it’s difficult. Again, it is difficult to sit down and focus while at home so I end up taking more breaks than normal.”

The sentiment is shared with Abboushi, who also has been struggling with productivity in relation to the shift to online classes. He credits this to the lack of pressure from his virtual course load. 

“Remote learning has caused my academic work ethic to change,” Abboushi said. “I used to be hyperactive and always trying to find something to work on, but now I just feel lazy. 

“I believe that this is because I am not really feeling any pressure from classes because they are all online,” he continued. 

As the pandemic continues, remote learning remains as a common option for students heavily relying on screen time. Abboushi acknowledges this and has been putting additional emphasis on trying to protect his eyes.

“I feel like these online classes have caused us to forget the importance of our eyes,” Abboushi said. “This is why I took it into my own hands and decided to purchase the blue light glasses.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here

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