The age of the smartphone has brought a digital screen to even more Americans than just those individuals who sit in front of a computer screen. With so many more individuals spending hours staring at a digital screen day in and day out, has brought a lot of attention to the negative health effects. One of the biggest, and perhaps the most obvious, issues of the digital age is the effect on the eyes. While there may sometimes be no avoiding staring at a screen, there are some very effective ways to reduce and prevent digital eye strain or sometimes referred to as computer vision syndrome.
Digital eye strain can be caused from looking closely at a digital screen for more than two hours and can cause headaches, blurred vision, tiredness, and neck and shoulder pain. Many of these symptoms are caused from excessive dry eyes because when an individual is viewing a digital screen, the blink rate decreases which results in less lubricated eyes. Here are some easy tips to help prevent digital eye strain.
Take Frequent Breaks
Interrupting long periods of screen work by frequent breaks can be a great way to prevent excessive strain on the eyes. Every 20–30 minutes, individuals should look away from the screen and focus on an object across the room for 20–30 seconds. This will allow the eyes to adjust and relax the focusing muscles that are heavily used.
Keep the Distance
Sitting too close to the computer screen causes the eyes to focus even harder. A good rule to follow is to position the computer screen an arms length away and handheld screens should be at least 18 inches from the eyes.
Blink More Often
Since excessive dry eyes can cause a lot of the symptoms related to digital eye strain, it can be very beneficial to blink more often. While this may be difficult to be conscious of throughout the workday, doing so can form a habit that leads to long-term benefits for the eyes.
Office settings are often too bright and eye strain can be caused by excessively bright light. By making sure to avoid direct fluorescent lighting in a workspace and making sure that windows are to the side of the screens, not in front or behind can greatly reduce the strain on the eyes.
Getting frequent eye exams can be one of the most important aspects to preventing eye issues caused by digital screens. Talking with an eye care provider about the number of hours spent in front of a screen and at what distance can help test and determine if any issues are developing.
These simple tips can help reduce unnecessary strain on the eyes that is caused by digital screens. While many individuals cannot help the number of hours needed to be spent in front of a screen, some can simply be more conscious of the time and cut back when it allows. However, the very best prevention is limitation.