Technology is more and more becoming a part of every aspect of our lives. We spend more time now than every before looking at digital screens — TVs, computers, tablets, cell phones. While technology can add entertainment and convenience to our lives, staring at a screen for long periods of time can be hard on your eyes. While they may not cause permanent damage to your eye health, digital devices can cause irritated, dry eyes and can also contribute to headaches.
Did you know you blink half as often when looking at a computer screen or other digital devices as you would normally? Blinking is important for keeping the eyes moisturized. If you spend more than a few minutes each day looking at a computer screen of any kind — whether for work, school or pleasure — here are some tips to help prevent dry eyes and other computer-related eye conditions.
Follow the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a computer screen, look away from the screen and focus on something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Position your screen appropriately. Your computer screen should be at least 25 inches from your face, positioned so you are looking slightly downward at the screen.
Blink often. Frequent blinking helps to keep your eyes moist. If you suffer from dry eyes, artificial tears may be used to refresh your eyes when they are dry or irritated.
Reduce glare. Using a screen filter can help prevent glare on the screen, reducing eye strain.
Rest. Sleep is important for a healthy body and healthy eyes. When your eyes are tired, computer-related eyestrain can become even worse. If you work at a computer all day, take frequent breaks to rest your eyes. Pay attention to how your eyes feel. If your eyes are tired or sore, it is time to take a break. Turn off all digital devices at least an hour before bedtime to give your eyes time to rest and relax.
Wear your glasses. If you wear contact lenses, try to wear your eyeglasses instead of contacts when working on the computer for long periods of time. Talk to your eye doctor about LASIK to reduce your dependency on prescription lenses altogether.
While computer use should not permanently damage your eyes, it can cause eyestrain, dry or irritated eyes and even eye pain. If you develop any problems such as red eyes, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, eye swelling or discharge, contact your eye doctor for an eye health exam.