We can’t go far without coming face to face with a screen today. We carry them in our pockets, we sit in front of them at work, we even use them to communicate with each other. With all the screen exposure we’re getting, it’s little wonder we’re starting to see adverse effects on our eyes. But what do we do to mitigate the damage? We can hardly escape screentime all together.
Digital eye strain manifests in a number of different ways; none of them particularly pleasant. Your eyes may start to feel dry, itchy or sore. Many patients start to feel as though their eyelids are particularly heavy and they can’t keep them open. It’s also not uncommon to experience headaches, or pain in the neck, shoulders and back.
Since the digital age is still quite young, scientists are still trying to determine what the potential long-term consequences of digital eye strain could encompass.
Every so often, step away from your screen. The 20/20/20 rule is a good one to follow: every 20 minutes, find an object roughly 20 feet away, and stare at it for 20 seconds. This gives your eye muscles a chance to work differently for a few seconds; it’s like the ocular equivalent to standing up to stretch your legs.
Getting your desk set up properly can go a long way towards reducing digital eye strain. Your computer monitor should be roughly arm’s length from your eyes. Try to position your screen in a way that eliminates glare. You may find it helps to dim the lights slightly.
Computer glasses are not the same as reading glasses. While reading glasses magnify your close-range vision, computer glasses magnify your mid range vision. You can also have your lenses treated with a special coating designed to filter out blue light.
Digital eye strain occurs when we spend uninterrupted time in front of a screen exceeding two hours. The eyes start to become fatigued, causing discomfort, not only in the eyes themselves, but in the whole body.
Blue light refers to a specific frequency of ultraviolet light that is emitted by most screens, including phones, tablets, computer monitors and some televisions.
While blue light isn’t necessarily harmful (it’s everywhere, including in sunlight) it can contribute to digital eye strain. Because it’s such a short wavelength, blue light tends to be difficult to focus. This causes visual “noise”, which causes your eyes to work extra hard to make sense of the information.
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