Whether you are learning online, working remotely, binging Netflix, or scrolling through social media, your eyes need protection. People are addicted to their digital devices, especially smartphones and laptops. The eyes never get a break from excessive screen time, which is not healthy, according to many optometrists. In fact, too much screen time can even lead to computer vision syndrome (CVS).
If you find that you regularly experience dry eyes, blurred vision, eye strain, or double vision after looking at screens, you need serious help. Roughly 90% or more of screen gazers develop some form of CVS. Light sensitivity, neck and back pain, and frequent headaches are the most common symptoms.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an uptick in screen time exposure. About 42% of Americans worked from home, and a new study indicated that 45% of remote workers experienced eye strain. An additional 60% of people were concerned with how the increased exposure to screens would affect their eyes in the long run. To help reduce the risk of CVS, use the following tips to protect the eyes.
Minimize Display Glare
In order to prevent glare on your screen, experts advise angling it away from the window or light source. If you work in an office with florescent lights overhead, you may notice overhead glare. Optometrists state that this causes severe vision discomfort and that it’s better to use desk lamps to reduce the glare. Just remember to face the light away from the screen. You always have the option to purchase an anti-glare screen or protector.
Abide By The 20-20-20 Rule
This is a great rule to remember if your job requires you to stare at a screen all day. When you use a computer or device with a screen for a long time, look away from the screen every 20 minutes. Don’t look at another screen, though. Pick something that is 20 feet away and stare at it for 20 seconds. Do this throughout the day and your eyes will have a chance to refocus.
Wear Blue Light Glasses
Some people swear by these glasses, while others think that they are completely useless. As it turns out, blue light glasses work to protect your eyes from the blue light that comes from most computers or smartphones. This blue light is concentrated and it’s very difficult for the eyes to filter out. Too much exposure to this type of blue light can cause headaches, eye strain, and sleep disruption.
Adjust Your Viewing Angle
One of the primary contributing factors to CVS development is the angle at which you view the screen. Researchers say that the computer, tablet, or phone should be 20-28 inches away from your eyes and four to five inches below eye level. Craning your neck to look down is unhealthy, and hunching over at a desk isn’t conducive to healthy eyes. Your eyes will also benefit if you maintain proper posture when seated.
Blink More Often
Blinking is a natural, involuntary action that occurs even if you don’t think about it. When you spend all day in front of screens, though, you have to remember to blink. In fact, take action by setting alarms to blink! When you blink, your eyes produce moisture that is essential for optimal eye care. On average, people tend to blink 15 times per minute, but this number decreases to five or seven times a minute when staring at screens. Failure to blink regularly can lead to dry eyes, blurred vision, general eye discomfort, and eye irritation.
Make Sure You Have The Right Prescription
This tip is specifically for people who require prescription glasses to see. As detailed in this article, it’s possible to experience blurred vision after staring at screens for too long. If your prescription isn’t correct anymore, this will also cause you to see things blurry. Seeing things in a constant blur will induce headaches and eye strain. Get an eye exam to make sure your prescription is correct. You know what? Get an eye exam even if you don’t wear glasses, just so you can know that your eyes are healthy.
Create Screen-Free Zones
The problem with the world we live in is that people go from working on screens, to watching TV, to checking their phones. There is no break from the screen cycle, so the eyes never get a chance to rest. While the aforementioned tips can help keep your eyes healthy, your best bet at reducing eye strain is limiting screen time. Establish screen-free zones in your home. The bathroom or bedroom should be screen-free areas. When you’re ready take a poop or go to sleep, give your eyes a break and completely unplug.