May 1, 2017

Presbyopia and a light-hearted look at phone addiction

The other day I found myself in deep thought about a light subject: my phone. Lately I have been more aware of my phone usage since my 40-something year old eyes are starting to bark at me. After I ignore them all day, they send in the headache to do the heavy work, to really drive home the message: either I am on my phone/computer too much, the blue light is really effecting me (hello insomnia), and/or I need reading glasses. This launched into a one and a half hour eyewear search while my daughter was at field hockey practice. Searching for reading glasses/anti-blue light glasses on my phone was not the brightest idea; when I finally looked up, my eyes felt like they had been pulled, twisted, and dried out. The irony is uncanny. Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 6.11.00 PM

Later that evening, after showing my husband his high school reunion page on Facebook (he isn’t on it but spent the next hour exploring through my account), I started to think about all the time I potentially have spent on my phone. While I don’t consider myself a heavy user of my phone (denial?), I admit I am on it more than I should be. If I added up all the hours over my lifetime, would it all add up to thousands of hours or even worse, several years? According to research, women spend up to two years of their life applying makeup/getting ready. I know I spend more time on my phone than I do in the bathroom mirror (insert wide-eyed emoji here).

I also realize the progression of this article is like the first bullet point below: not only have the need for reading glasses ensued from my (potentially) excessive phone usage, but the “H” used to be lowercase in my ADhD; now my brain bounces like it’s a party up there 24/7.

How to know if you spend too much time on your phone (BTW these are not all personal accounts; some are fictionalized or made from observations, obviously):

– You go to look up a recipe on your phone only to find yourself reading your horoscope, then take a quiz about what career you should go into, then look up said career, and even go as far to pull up a calculator to see how much you could earn a week only to look up when your child asks, “When is dinner ready?” as you look at the empty pots and the clock that now ticks one hour later.

– You promise to only look at Facebook while having coffee…three hours later you finish looking at your friend’s, friend’s, friend’s profile who lives on the opposite of the world.

– You develop a friendship with your Words with Friends friend (true story)

– You spy your dog’s nose under the bathroom door while sitting on a closed lid

– You then hear your child sit down with the dog

– Your child starts following you to the bathroom, asking you to hand over your phone before going in

– You think you have been home alone for the past hour

– You miss your child’s swim event, home run, soccer goal, football tackle, field hockey practice because you forgot where you were after posting a picture to show where you are

– Your child asks you a question five times and you still have no idea what they said

– Every red light is an opportunity for a phone check

– You hold your phone all day because the separation anxiety is too real

– You can’t fall asleep (the blue light thing can’t be real)

– You experience all momentous events through the lens of your phone

– You put your phone down only to pick it up 10 second later because you might have missed something

– You have run out of shows to watch on Netflix

– You know where your phone is more than where your child is

– You text family members who are only a room away

– You have conversations with your spouse on social media more than you do in person

The eye strain is happening for real now. Maybe it would have been my fate even if screens were not as prevalent. After all, my parents started wearing reading glasses around my age…but then again, I just might have sped up the clock by a couple of years. In any event, I know I would like to have a healthier relationship with my phone to set the example for my kids too.

I would love to know if any Smarty readers have had any experience with anti-blue light readers. Please comment!

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