6 Easy Ways To Limit the Effects From Too Much Screen Time
If you’ve been experiencing headaches, eye strain, or dry eyes, or you haven’t been sleeping well lately, too much screen time may be to blame. Especially with the on-set of WFH due to covid-19, our Optometry specialists can help determine if poor eye health is affecting your overall well-being, and if your computer is the culprit.
You may be wondering why using a computer is so much harder on your eyes than reading printed materials like a book or magazine. The main reason is that when we stare at computer screens, we tend to blink less. In fact, while focusing on digital displays, a person’s blink rate can be reduced by a third to a half, which causes their eyes to dry out. Additionally, many of us are not viewing these screens from the optimal distance.
In recent years, a popular solution to this problem has been blue light filters; namely, expensive computer glasses. However, these glasses, as well as other blue light filters, are no more effective at reducing the symptoms of eye strain than a neutral filter.
“As an experienced optometrist at EMC, I’m concerned about lasting effects from the overuse of screens and devices, and encourage anyone who works primarily with computers to get their eyes checked regularly,” says John Kinney, O. D. “All of us at Eye Medical Center are dedicated to finding solutions to eye and vision problems that occur within the people of Central California. This has been the mindset I have pursued in my forty-eight years with this extraordinary group of eye professionals.”
6 Ways to Reduce Effects from Screen Time
1. Avoid dry eyes. As stated above, the primary reason staring at a computer screen is so harmful to your eyes is that you tend to blink less. To combat dry eyes, keep artificial tears nearby and use them when necessary. Other factors that can cause dryness include humidity-controlled offices that pull moisture out of the air and, during the winter, heaters. A desktop humidifier can help introduce moisture into your environment and give your eyes some relief.
2. Allow distance. Being too close to your screen is also a factor in how your eyes can be negatively affected—they have to work harder to see things that are closer. If possible, keep your monitor or screen about 25 inches away, or about an arm’s length away. Make sure to position the screen so your eye gaze is directed slightly downward.
3. Adjust the brightness. When a screen is much brighter than the surrounding light, eyes have to work harder. If you can, adjust your room lighting and try increasing the contrast on your screen.
4. Reduce glare. Glass screens can produce glare that can aggravate the eye. If you don’t have control over the lighting in your environment, try using a matte screen filter.
5. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes, give your eyes a break by looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to relax.
6. Limit devices before bed. Research shows that the blue light from your phone and other screens may affect the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. During the day, blue light wakes us up and stimulates us. It does the same thing at night, which makes it harder to get to sleep. Limit screen time one to two hours before bedtime. Use nighttime settings on devices and computers that minimize blue light exposure.
See an EMC specialist for help
If you’re experiencing consistently dry, red eyes or eye pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kinney or one of our other dedicated Eye Medical Center doctors as soon as you can. You can request an appointment using our online form, or call our office today at (559) 486-5000 to schedule an appointmen.