Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Shocking new research reveals how taking selfies could seriously affect your sight


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.”

middle distance

Beware the middle distance. Who knows what dwells there?

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.

Images: iStock



The couple behind the #FollowMeTo photos reveals how it's done


Selfie deaths are now more common than shark attacks

Courtney Adamo Arm Hair Instagram.jpg

Why one blogger had to defend this picture from bodyshamers

naked selfie.JPG

Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski team-up for joint topless selfie


Alexa Chung talks Stylist through her morning routine


Meryl Streep is transformed into food


This change to Instagram will make sure you never miss the best stuff


12 tableware dining sets to make your meals more Instagrammable

Sara Tasker.JPG

“How I quit my job and changed my life with Instagram”



“How beauty rituals help me manage my depression”

One writer found comfort in an unexpected place

21 Oct 2016

Stress is genuinely good for you, experts reveal

Forget everything you thought you knew about stress…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Must-watch Christmas TV: tune in for Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes

Just in time for Christmas

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Oct 2016

Bake Off fans, the BBC has already found a replacement show for GBBO

And it's set to hit our televisions very soon...

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Costa’s fancy new menu includes avocado toast and Prosecco

You may want to dress up for the world’s poshest Costa…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Real-life victims of revenge porn share their stories

“Within a week, everyone had seen them… I tried to kill myself shortly after”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

People diagnosed with a terminal illness share powerful life lessons

“You only get one life – and we need to live it”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

This gin is officially the best in Europe – and it's from the UK

Gin drinkers, take note…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Oct 2016

Amazing tasting menus from top UK restaurants for under £50

Total steals from Michelin-starred spots

by Amy Swales
20 Oct 2016

9 hilarious tips for making it in a male-dominated workplace

"Never say anything that sounds like a question, even questions."

by Harriet Hall
20 Oct 2016