Constantly using something will lead to problems. Computers are no different, and it could be argued that people spend more time on them, including smartphones, than on anything else we do. Except maybe sleep. It can cause or worsen some serious illnesses.
First, we’ll look at health problems that can be caused or worsened by computer use, and at the end we’ll see what you can do to prevent this from happening. Or at least minimize them.
Migraine and headache
There are headaches and then migraines. Excessive focus on the screen can exacerbate both. Your eyes are literally brain stems, the ends of which are open to the world. So whatever you do with your eyes directly affects your brain.
Looking at a bright light is bound to create tension, pain, and ultimately headaches. In people who are already prone to migraines, excessive screen time can make them more frequent and worse. As Scott Tousley writes in his article “A 60-Second Trick to Get Rid of Computer Screen Headaches at Night,” this tension “… occurs in 50–90% of computer workers.”
Dizziness sounds funny, but vertigo is a serious problem. Imagine that you will fall all the time. And sometimes yes. Dizziness is closely related to migraine headaches. So if excessive screen time can trigger a migraine, it can certainly cause or worsen dizziness.
Every computer screen flickers. Usually you don’t notice it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see it. This is still registering in your brain. This constant flickering can also cause or complicate dizziness.
Imagine that there is a darkened or darkened circle in the center of everything you are looking at. This is what macular degeneration does. It can happen simply due to aging and affects more people than cataracts and glaucoma. But high energy visible light (HEV) plays an important role.
For example, looking at the sun is a bad idea. You’ve also heard that HEV is called blue light. Of course, computer screens are the source of HEV, often less than two feet from your eyes.
However, the jury doesn’t seem to have decided yet. Doctor of Optometry, Mark Grossman, OD, LAc. says, “HEV is a known risk factor for macular degeneration,” so he seems to be saying it could have happened.
Stephen Rose of the Foundation for the Fight Against Blindness says: “There is no evidence that sitting in front of a computer screen in any way affects the development of age-related macular degeneration or any other retinal problem.” Why risk it anyway?
Depression and anxiety
Overuse of the computer does not cause depression or anxiety, but it can make the situation worse for many reasons. We know that exercise, good nutrition, fresh air and sunshine are powerful helpers in the fight against depression and anxiety.
Sitting in a dark room, staring at a screen and eating junk food is the exact opposite. And that’s what a lot of people do every day, whether it’s playing games or just watching what the rest of the world is doing and you’re not doing anything.
Add to that headaches, migraines, dizziness, and other potential health problems, and depression and anxiety can only get worse. Plus, what you see and hear will affect you. You see what people in the world want you to see. You see brief moments when they perform at their best. Then you look around and feel like you’re out of alignment. As the saying goes, comparison is a thief of joy.
On the other hand, there are video games designed to help people with depression and anxiety. Thus, like any other tool, computers can be used to fix problems or, if misused, to actually destroy things.
Tics, epilepsy, and Tourette’s syndrome
Tics and epilepsy are not computer-caused conditions, but they can make them worse. Tics are often associated with Tourette’s, so if overuse of the computer can cause tics, it can also negatively affect people living with Tourette’s.
It is also common knowledge that flickering light can cause epileptic seizures. Computer screens flicker constantly. This is part of how they work.
In the article Parents with Tourette’s, their top recommendation to help reduce symptoms of Tourette’s is to spend less behind the screen. It is so simple.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
As the name suggests, there is a tunnel on your wrist. The median nerve passes through this tunnel. If something can narrow the tunnel, it touches the median nerve, causing pain, numbness, and problems with hand and arm movement. This can cause permanent damage and loss of hand function.
The way most of us use computers can create ideal conditions for inflammation around the carpal tunnel. Obesity can also increase the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome. This is inaction due to the fact that I spent the whole day at the computer, and again came to play.
Be sure to check out our YouTube channel where we filmed an entire video on how to prevent and manage carpal tunnel:
Chronic neck and back pain
We have already said that we hunched over due to a headache. This slouching can lead to poor posture and a host of neck and back pain problems.
This is facilitated by the use of a smartphone. Instead of lifting the phone to eye level, people bend over and stare at the phone when they hold it somewhere on their belt. Keep up the good work and you will look like a question mark and you will be in constant pain.
Prevention and possibly cure
It’s painfully obvious what the best preventive measure is, isn’t it? Use computers and smartphones less.
For screen problems, try decreasing the brightness to match the brightness levels of the world around you. Reducing the contrast between the screen and its surroundings can significantly reduce eye strain. It also reduces the intensity of the HEV or blue light you are exposed to. Consider using an app to help reduce blue light or calibrate your monitor.
For dizziness, flickering headaches, or epilepsy, try changing the refresh rate on your monitor. The default is 60 Hz, which is also the same frequency as fluorescent lamps. So if you’re working on a computer in a room with fluorescent lighting, that’s a double whammy. Move the monitor to a different frequency and that should help.
To treat carpal tunnel and other muscle and soft tissue problems, adjust your workstation or combat station to inflict the least amount of repetitive strain injury (RSI) on you. Buy an ergonomic keyboard or vertical mouse to reduce the strain on your wrist. And also get up and move.
If this requires you to take a 5-minute break at the office every hour to get up and walk, then do it. Stretch. If that means you are planning your game so that you will not be pulled into the game for 24 hours in a row, then do so. If you need to put your phone in silent mode and put it in your pocket while you lift your head and look at the world, do so.