Is watching TV for too long really bad for your eyes

Most parents have strict rules about staying at least six feet away from television and the permission to watch TV for less than a couple of hours. Apparently, it’s a popular belief that watching TV is harmful for your eyes and could cause permanently blindness. Although most of us know that its just a myth that is meant to scare us but still there are large number of people who still believe that watching TV for too long is harmful to the eyes, and that’s exactly what the discussion here is about.

kid watching tv

How the myth got started?

Way back in the sixties when TVs were just getting popular, they were not as slim and slick as today. They were big boxes filled with wires, bulbs, tubes and what not. Towards the late 60s when more and more families were able to afford colored televisions, the manufacturing companies disclosed that due to some factory error, quite a number of televisions were emitting excessive X-rays. The emission of X-rays is extremely dangerous, especially when exposed for a prolonged period of time. Those companies later went on to fix the tubes that lead to the discharge of harmful radiation from the TVs. But, the myth stayed on and to this day holds it place firmly.

How TV really affects the eyes?

It’s been proven time and again with extensive amount of research done on the matter that TV, or any other kind of screen for that matter, does not have any permanent effect on the eyes. What actually happens is, exposure to TV screens for a prolonged period of time causes irritation, eye-strain and dry eyes. These are easily noticeable with exhausted looking eyes and reddening of Sclera(a dense, white, fibrous membrane that, with the cornea, forms the external covering of the eyeball.). These symptoms being noticeable often cause havoc among parents.

The remedies of these temporary irritations are remarkably simple. Just take rest from time to time and do not stare at the screen for countless hours. Simply blinking the eyes to keep on moisturizing the eyes will do the trick of preventing the dryness. But, if you have stumbled upon this article with eye-strain after countless hours of staring at the screen, just try on few prescribed eye drops, which should instantly put you at ease.

Also, watching television at eye-level is far more comfortable for the eyes, as well as the body, in comparison to watching it by tilting your head up. This position is typical in case of children. This causes even more strain on the eyes.

Often, the symptoms of eye problems are mistaken as a result of ‘too-much TV’. Especially in case of children, if your children are habitually watching TV from too close, the chances are that they are already suffering from nearsightedness.


So, the final answer is going to be both yes and no. You can be assured that there won’t be any permanent damage to the eyes, in particular, solely due to watching TV. However, there are irritations, eye-strains, dry eyes and other temporary effects which aren’t that hard to take care of but could affect your entire day and result in the lack of productivity.