Winter weather can make staying in and relaxing at home more appealing, which means spending a lot more time with electronic devices. Your phone, television, computer, laptop or tablet can end up getting a lot more of your attention during these cold weather months and it can take a large toll on your eye health. A recent study from the vision council revealed that 60% of americans spend 5 hours or more with their eyes on an electronic device.
The reason why this is so taxing on your eyes is many digital devices and computer monitors emit blue light, and blue light exposure can contribute to digital eye strain. After blue light enters your eyes it scatters. Your eyes then have to work extra hard to focus that scattered light. In other words, your eyes are putting in overtime on a daily basis, which can contribute to repetitive eye strain and associated headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes.
We live in a digital world and device time is probably only going to increase for most people. Here are a few tips to help reduce digital eyestrain and keep your eyes healthy despite the hours of screen time.
Observe the 20-20-20 rule – Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes and spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away. Also, blinking more often helps to moisten your eyes, which may help reduce visual discomfort.
Maintain your digital distance – Find a comfortable working distance from your screen. This is especially important for children since the intensity of light increases exponentially the closer our eyes are to the source. Children have shorter arms and therefore receive a more intense dose of blue light from devices. Children should hold devices as far away from their eyes as is comfortable. Adults are encouraged to hold devices at arm’s length.
Dim the lights – Turn down the brightness level of device screens to reduce the amount of blue light exposure, especially during the evening hours. Additionally, as LED and CFL lighting also emit blue light, it would be a good idea to dim those at home or work if possible.
Try an app – A number of apps are also available to help reduce blue light emission from devices.
See Your Eye Doc – We hope these other tips help but remember you should be seeing your eye doctor annually, especially children. This is a great time to ask more questions and suggestions for reducing digital eye strain.
We look forward to seeing you in our office soon!