By Marianne Beach, GalTime.com
I don't know about the rest of you, but when I forget to grab my iPhone when heading out the door, I feel almost paralyzed. I can't look up directions. I can't read product reviews. I can't check my email. And, oh, what if someone texted me? The horror of making them wait for a reply until I get back home.
And that's not even mentioning Angry Birds...
For many of us, smart phones have become an extension of ourselves and we find ourselves texting, tweeting and checking our email all day long and into the night. But could this overuse of technology actually making us look older?
Maybe so, say some doctors, who have dubbed the phenomenon the "Smart Phone Squint." Just like the "texting thumb"--which causes frequent texters to suffer finger and wrist injuries from overuse, the smart phone squint can lead to eye strain and dry eyes--as well as fine lines and wrinkles.
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"Smart phones induce you to squint during the day time and that contracts the muscles around your face," says Dr. Lucian Del Priore, professor of Ophthalmology at Columbia University and attending surgeon at NY Presbyterian hospital.
And plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Grant, also at NY Presbyterian, says some people are even opting for so-called "Blackberry Botox" to stop the wrinkling.
"These medicines partially block the muscle from contracting," he explains. "And since the muscles around the eye can't contract, the fine line and wrinkle can't appear."
Others use retinols, Grant says, both over the counter and prescription. But the best cure, in this case, is prevention.
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"There's lots of things you can do to adjust the settings on your blackberry to avoid having to squint," he insists. "You can make the font size bigger, have the print appear larger on the screen."
Other tips for avoiding the Smart phone squint? Here are a few from New Jersey plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Glatt.
1. Take a break - It's important to put down or at least glance up from your smart phone regularly so that your eyes can rest. Though squinting is necessary when using a smart phone, taking time to relax your eyes can make a significant difference in reducing this new type of strain on your facial muscles.
2. Turn the light down low - Too much light and contrast can cause you to narrow the eyes to take in the brightness. A no-no for fresh-looking eye contours. Combat the dreaded 'crow's feet' effect by dimming the screen in your 'settings' options - and see how low you can go on the light emission. The less, the better. (As a bonus, this will also help preserve your phone's battery life!)
3. Looking after your eyes - If you can bear it, spend less time glued to your iPhone or Blackberry. And during this timeout, take some deep breaths to relax the face into a more natural expression, and gently massage the area around the eyes - a simple thing that can make a big difference to preventing those lines that starts subtly but can get deeper and more pronounced. Not only will your face be serene looking, you will feel more serene - and in a much better state to deal with any inbox horrors.
4. Don't forget to smile! If you are experiencing stress from being constantly attached to your smart phone, just think about the potentially negative effect this is having on your youthful appearance. Then, take time to do something that relieves the tension, like playing on a fun app, like TomCat or Angry Birds; this will help relax your face, soften your expression and prevent long term frown lines.
Do you squint too much? Any wrinkle-reducing tips?
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