Can I Get Eye Damage From Cell Phone Use? What Experts Say

As concern grows over blue light, you may wonder if you can get eye damage from cell phone use. Your vision is an essential part of your life, so it’s good and natural that you want to protect it. Fortunately, many of the so-called dangers from blue light are overexaggerated.

Woman indoors standing next to a window while looking at her phone.

Cell phones and other digital screens have little effect on your vision. The sun is a much bigger threat to your eye health. This is why you need a quality pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes year-round. While computer vision syndrome can impact your eye health, it can be treated with changes to your daily routine. Another option is to invest in a pair of computer glasses to help reduce eye fatigue. 

Eye Damage from Cell Phone Use

Smartphones and mobile devices are now essential in our everyday lives. Combine them with computers and you can look at screens for most of the day and on into the night. This has led to a growing concern that you can get eye damage from cell phone use and even vision loss.

Currently, there’s not much evidence that your phone’s blue light can harm your eyes. Harvard Medical School says digital devices can’t harm your eye health due to the low impact their light actually has on your vision.

In fact, the light in many retail stores is twice as powerful as the phone in your pocket. The LED light in your phone and other devices also tends to be much smaller than in an LED flashlight. This makes them much safer to look into than a light bulb or military-grade LED flashlight. The sun itself puts out 10 times the ambient illumination of LED lights.

While dangers do exist, it’s not due to eye damage from cell phone use. To protect your vision, avoid staring directly at bright lights, including the sun. You should invest in a quality pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays.

Choose a pair of sunglasses that:

  • Has 99% – 100% UV blocking, or is rated UV400+
  • Fits comfortably close to your face
  • Has lenses without any imperfections

Wearing sunglasses can greatly protect your vision and enhance the comfort of your eyes throughout the day.

Click here to learn more about how to choose your next pair of prescription sunglasses.


How to Prevent Eye Strain From Phone Use

There is not enough evidence right now to show that you can get eye damage from cell phone use. It won’t harm your vision or lead to problems such as age-related macular degeneration. However, looking at phone screens for long periods of time does have an effect on the human eye. This is computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain.

Computer Vision Syndrome Symptoms

According to, over 50% of adults and children are affected by computer vision syndrome. Symptoms include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Eyes that feel sore and tired
  • Neck and shoulder pain

When looking at your phone, eye damage doesn’t occur. ​​However, these symptoms can cause you to feel physically tired at the end of the day. This is true even if you haven’t performed a lot of physical activity.

Most of us spend well over two hours per day looking at digital screens. There’s also a good chance you’re using two or more devices at the same time. It’s no wonder many people are reporting symptoms of computer vision syndrome!

Computer Vision Syndrome TreatmentClose-up of people's hands over a picnic table holding their cellphones.

Thankfully, there are a few practical steps you can take to treat and prevent this common problem. To make things easier on your eyes, try:

  • Using appropriate lighting
  • Reducing glare from screens
  • Adjusting your display settings
  • Blink more
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule

To get the appropriate lighting, avoid bright sunlight and fluorescent lights when working. Close the curtains if working from home and use soft lighting indoors. To reduce glare, position your computer in a place where you’re not directly in line with windows. You can also use anti-glare screens to cut down on light reflecting into your eyes.

Adjust your display settings to cut down on eye strain. Adjust the brightness of your monitor to match the brightness of your workspace. You should also opt for black text on a white background, which is easier on your eyes. You can also reduce blue light by adjusting the color temperature of your screens to orange and red.

Blinking keeps your eyes moistened while also removing debris. But gazing at digital screens can make us forget to blink, leading to dry and irritated eyes. Remember to blink regularly while looking at your phone or working on your computer. You can also use preservative-free eye drops to keep your eyes moisturized.

Start including the 20-20-20 rule into your work routine. All you have to do is look at something:

  • 20 feet away
  • For 20 seconds
  • Every 20 minutes

This helps you to reduce screen time regularly, which will lead to less eye fatigue.

Blue Light Glasses

Another popular option may be blue light glasses. These lenses claim to help block blue light and protect the photoreceptor cells in your eyes. More research needs to be done to confirm their effectiveness. However, many people have experienced reduced eye strain when wearing them. 

Also known as computer glasses, blue light glasses are very affordable with some going for as low as $50. They come in prescription and non-prescription varieties, making them easy to find. Results can vary, but some people have reported reduced eye strain symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Tired eyes
  • Difficulty sleeping

No negative side effects have been found related to wearing blue light glasses. That makes them worth a try when combined with their low cost and potential benefits.

Click here to read our blog about blue light glasses.


You won’t get eye damage from cell phone use since blue light from digital screens doesn’t damage your vision. Instead, wear prescription sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. You can also prevent digital eye strain by making small changes to your daily habits. For added protection, try using computer glasses that may help filter blue light.

Want to learn what you can do to protect your vision from harmful light? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!


Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical has been serving Knoxville since 2009. Located at 10904 Spring Bluff Way, you can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (865) 888-0892.

Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in June 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Thompson was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. His family has lived in the Hardin Valley area since 1998, and he graduated from Karns High School in 2004. Dr. Thompson runs Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical alongside his wife, Dr. Catherine Abbott.

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