From the moment we get up to the moment we go to bed, more and more of us are on our smartphones, tablets, computers or other digital devices. That’s a lot of eyeballs glued to a lot of screens.
If you count yourself among the ninety percent of adults who spend two or more hours a day in front of a screen of some sort, there is something you should know. You can be putting yourself at risk for digital eye strain. This is known as computer vision syndrome.
This is a problem that is occurring more and more frequently. Symptoms may include red and irritated dry eyes, headaches, fatigue, blurry vision, eye strain problems, focusing, and neck and shoulder pain.
Digital eye strain is more common than you think
When you spend long periods of time concentrating on digital devices, the blink rate may be reduced by up to sixty-six percent on average. This results in dry or burning eyes.
Other factors include the size of the computer’s font, your computer set-up, your posture and the amount of blue light emitted from your screen.
Use these steps to protect your eyes now
There are a number of steps you can take to protect your eyes if your screen habits put you at risk for digital eye strain.
- Build a work space that promotes healthy posture. Center your computer screen at arms-length and a little below eye level. This will help you keep your back straight and maintain a proper distance from your screen.
- Position the screen to minimize glare. Don’t tilt it upward.
- We recommend investing in computer eyewear with an anti-reflective lens that can also be combined with a specially formulated coating that blocks and selectively absorbs the blue light.
- Take a twenty-second break every twenty minutes, and look at something at least twenty feet away. This is known as the 20/20/20 rule.
- Adjust the brightness of your digital device. You should consider changing the background color from bright white to cool gray.
- Lessen the amount of overhead light and the surrounding light competing with your device’s screen. Increase the font size to make it easier to read.
- Blinking lubricates your eyes and keeps them moist and healthy, so don’t forget to blink.
- If you have kids, you should consider limiting their screen time and reducing your own screen time to set a healthy example.
Talk to your eye care professional
While it would be ideal to cut down on the amount of time you spend in front of a screen each day, it is not always realistic. Let your eye care professional know if you are using digital devices excessively. This is especially if you wear contact lenses. If you are at a screen more often than not and wear contact lenses, you should to talk to your eye doctor about which lenses are best for you.
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