A new study has revealed our obsession with documenting our every move in the most photogenic of ways could actually be damaging our optic health.
A team from the Royal Association of Optometrists studied 2,500 avid social media users (characterised as those by posting five or more pictures a day online) to monitor the effect of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter on the eye.
And, unfortunately for those of us addicted to a filtered, online lifestyle, the research pointed to habitual use causing serious optic conditions in one in five people – most notably, damage to the lens stemming from focusing somewhere other than the camera.
Professor Sally Fee, leading the research, explains: “The growing trend of staring into the distance past the camera is actually having a detrimental effect on many people’s eye health.
“By deliberately not focusing the eye in order to appear blasé and much more interesting and thoughtful than you actually are, you’re putting immense strain on the lens and, in severe cases, running the risk of contracting narcissism.”
The team have not yet officially named the condition, informally terming it ‘middle-distance Insta-eye’, and also have identified a number of other issues, including retinal damage from flattering low-light environments and surrounding tissue damage resulting from high-reaching selfie angles causing the subject to look up constantly.
With selfie deaths now more common than shark attacks, Prof Sal Fee also emphasised that direct injury to the cornea from phones and selfie sticks physically falling into the eye was not to be underestimated.
“As of yet, the scientific community have not found the lines a constant selfie-taker will not cross in search of a super-flattering shot that makes them look like they were caught unawares, gazing off just-so yet perfectly groomed,” she tells Stylist.co.uk. “It’s worth being vigilant with those friends and family members you know to have a history of being vain and self-involved.”
Update: Happy April Fool's Day! We hope you enjoyed our entirely fictional story. Check out some (completely true) articles below.