Think about how many hours you look at a screen each day. Between your work computer, looking at your smartphone and unwinding with some TV, it really adds up. In fact, research shows that Americans spend at least 50% of each day looking at screens. Unfortunately, this can have some long-term effects on our eyes. This can also lead to something doctors call digital eye strain, which can cause blurred vision, dry eyes and double vision.
To protect your vision and your eye health, follow some of our top tips below.
Maintain a healthy distance. Remember when your parents told you to not sit too close to the TV as a kid? Turns out they might have been on to something. Our eyes aren’t meant to constantly look at things up close. Your eyes actually have to work harder to focus on things up close compared with far away. Try keeping your monitor or screen at arm’s length, about 25 inches away instead.
Take breaks. Some people call this the 20/20/20 rule. For this, take 20-second breaks every 20 minutes of screen time. During your break, try looking at things at least 20 feet away. You could gaze out the window for a bit, look across the room or go for a walk. This will help to give your eyes a much-deserved rest.
Lubricate your eyes. When you’re staring at your computer, it can be common to blink less. This dries out your eyes and can lead to irritation. So, make sure you blink regularly to keep your eyes lubricated and prevent fatigue. While you’re giving your eyes a break from screens, try some lubricating eye drops to help ease dryness. You can also consider using a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air in your home or office.
Give your eyes a rest. Your eyes need a longer break from electronics each day. Try putting away your phone for an hour when you’d normally use it. Turn off the TV before getting ready for bed. If you spend a lot of time during the day on screens, limit screen time on nights and weekends. Consider reading books instead of e-books, for example. The key is to give your eyes rest in between periods of screen time. Getting enough sleep is also extremely important if you’re spending a lot of time in front of screens.
Adjust lighting. The light around you can play a big role in eyestrain too. Bright lighting is actually worse for you when looking at a computer screen. Instead, try to lower the lighting around you to about half the brightness of a normal office. We can’t always control the lighting around us, however. In this case, adjust your screen brightness instead. To do this, just turn down the brightness on your monitor and phone a few clicks. Reducing any screen glare can help, too.
Try glasses. You’ve probably seen blue light glasses by now. This eyewear is specially tinted to help reduce the blue light waves that can damage the eyes. These come in prescription and non-prescription options. In fact, most online retailers and drug stores now carry blue light glasses. For some individuals, this helps cut down on headaches, as well.
Your eye health is important to your overall well-being. Over time, our eyesight can worsen due to the overuse of screens and electronics. Make sure to get regular eye checks ups to determine the health of your eyes and eyesight. If you have any questions or concerns, make sure to talk to your optometrist or eye care specialist. They can help further tailor your habits.
Try incorporating these tips into your day and your eyes will thank you!