Children and adults alike are spending more time than ever staring at digital screens. In fact, as many as 43% of us admit that we spend too much time online. This isn’t always for work either. Many of us rely on social media to stay connected to the people that matter to us, and plenty of people spend their downtime gaming or playing online. Unfortunately, all this screen time has been shown to play havoc with our health.
Some of the most common effects of digital screen use include dry eyes, blurred vision, eye pain, frequent headaches, and sleep disorders. These may not sound too serious, but they can have a negative impact on our ability to live a life that is as full and active as possible. Fortunately, there are a variety of things that we can do to help ensure that our digital devices don’t affect our long term vision.
Here are some of the best ways to protect your eyes from the effects of digital screens.
One of the easiest and most effective ways of protecting your eyes from issues caused by prolonged use of digital screens is to take regular breaks. Studies suggest that short, frequent breaks are better than less frequent, longer breaks. With this in mind, the American Optometric Association recommends the 20/20/20 rule – look away from the screen every 20 minutes, focusing on an object at least 20 feet away from you, and hold this focus for at least 20 seconds. Use this opportunity to go to the bathroom, stretch your legs, or make a drink and enjoy a slightly longer break, giving your eyes much needed time to adjust their focus and relax.
Optometrists recommend that people sit at least an arm’s length away from your digital screen. Make sure that the screen is slightly below eye level too. This is important as looking up at a screen requires your eyes to open wider and this can cause them to dry out quickly – a common side effect of digital screen use.
Most of the time, blinking is a subconscious action that we don’t pay much attention to. However, you may be surprised to learn that we naturally blink less often when we are using a screen – sometimes by as much as 50%. This reduction makes dry eyes more likely.
Our eyes are surrounded by muscles that need to work properly so that our visual skills are as strong as possible. Just like other muscles in our body, those around our eyes can also benefit from regular exercise to keep them strong and effective. When we sit still looking at a digital device for a long time, they can become weaker. Experts suggest that we try to move our eyes around by changing their position and looking in different directions.
If you spend a considerable amount of time using digital devices – for example, if you use a computer for work or you enjoy gaming in your spare time – then you may wish to consider getting blue light blocking lenses. As their name suggests, these are special lenses that are designed to filter out the majority of artificial blue light that we come into contact with – much of which is emitted by digital devices. Some of the symptoms of overexposure to blue light include:
Disrupted sleep pattern
Blue light lenses can eliminate many of the effects of overexposure and reduce potential damage to your retina from prolonged exposure to blue light.
For more advice on the best way to protect your eyes from digital screens, don’t hesitate to speak to our knowledgeable eye experts in Cedarburg, WI.