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Photo by Morapedi Mashashe
  • A new survey suggests people over the age of 65 are the quickest readers.
  • A reading test, developed by an opticians, found over-65s are 14% quicker at reading than 35-44 year olds.
  • It could be due to younger people staring at screens all day, as older people spend the least amount of time in front of them.
  • Too much screen time can cause computer vision syndrome.
  • Symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes, and blurred vision.

We're all guilty of skimming an article we wanted to read, or getting distracted and having to re-read a paragraph we didn't take in. But at a certain point in life, most of us are pretty confident in our reading ability.

However, according to a new survey, maybe we shouldn't be.

The opticians Lenstore recently created a reading test and asked 1,600 people to take part in it. People aged 25 to over 65 were tested, and some of the results were not expected.

For instance, over-65s read faster than people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. It took the over-65s 98.5 seconds on average to complete the test, 25-34 year olds took 105 seconds, and 35-44 year olds took 112 seconds.

Overall, over-65s completed the test 14% faster than 35-44 year olds.

Research has shown how those in the older group look at screens the least, while people aged 16-44 spend more time in front of them, raising questions about how prolonged screen usage could affect our eyesight and reading ability.

According to a study from Birmingham University, published in the BMJ, excessive time staring at screens on smartphones, tablets, and laptops can cause Digital Eye Strain (DES), or computer vision syndrome, the most common symptoms of which are eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, and blurred vision.

According to a John Hopkins Medicine study, dry eyes may be a major factor of reading speed and ability.

"Symptoms associated with prolonged screen time, such as dry eyes and blurred vision, are suggested to be the reason that young people, who are regularly looking at screens, were outperformed by those who are older," a spokesperson from Len store told INSIDER.

A study published earlier this year in the journal Scientific Reports found that the blue light emitted by our phones, tablets, and laptops might increase our chance of becoming blind. Previous studies have found that blue light is harmful, but researchers from the University of Toledo say it can make molecules "toxic."

Researchers described how blue light can turn a molecule in the eye into a poison that kills photoreceptor cells, which do not regenerate. So "when they're dead, they're dead for good," according to Kasun Ratnayake, a doctoral student researcher who wrote the study.

Karunarathne suggested using special sunglasses that filter UV and blue light to try to combat the effects, but experts are unsure whether they do that much good.

You can take the Len store reading test yourself here:

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