Protect Your Eyes the Damage of Too Much Screen Time

In our technology-driven world, American adults spend nearly half a day in front of a screen — about 10 hours and 39 minutes — according to a Nielsen Company audience report released last year.

The report evaluated how much time we spend daily using our tablets, smartphones, personal computers, multimedia devices, video games, radios, DVDs, DVRs and TVs.

Is it possible that all of the time spent looking at technology is hurting your eyes?

While looking at a computer screen, TV or a mobile device likely won’t cause permanent damage to your eyes, it can result in digital eyestrain or even a condition called computer vision syndrome. If you experience any problems with your vision, schedule an appointment to have your eyes checked to  rule out any more serious eye conditions.

Some of the common symptoms of digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome include:

• dry eyes
• blurry vision
• difficulty focusing
• changes in color perception
• eye discomfort, burning or itching
• headaches
• neck and shoulder pain

In addition to the amount of time spent in front of a screen, glare and/or the position of the screen can contribute to digital eye strain. The glare from any device screen can cause eye muscle fatigue, and difficulty seeing what’s on the screen. The position of the screen should be set so that your eyes don’t have to work too hard to see the screen. If you’re working on a computer, the top of the screen should never be higher than eye level.

You can prevent digital eye strain by giving your eyes time to rest. Whether you work on the computer, or spend time gaming or watching TV for more than a few minutes a day, here are some tips to help protect your eyes:

Follow the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a digital screen, shift your gaze away from the screen and focus on something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  

Properly position the screen. Keep the device at least 25 inches from your face, and position it so you are looking slightly downward at the screen.

Don’t forget to blink. Blinking helps keep your eyes moist, which can prevent dry eyes. If your eyes become dry or irritated, talk to your eye doctor about artificial tears.

Eliminate glare. Use a screen filter to reduce glare on the screen.

Rest. Lack of sleep can only makes digital eye strain worse. If you spend hours a day day in front of a screen, be sure to take regular breaks or power naps to rest your eyes.

Don’t ignore the signs of eye strain. Pay attention to how your eyes feel. If your eyes are tired or sore, it is time to take a break. A warm, damp washcloth applied to closed eyes can help alleviate eye soreness.

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.

We understand that your livelihood may depend on you using a computer or other digital device for long periods of time, but nonetheless, it is important that you take care of your eyes. If you experience any problems such as red eyes, burred vision, sensitivity to light, swollen or irritated eyes, contact the eye doctors at The Eye Center to schedule an eye exam.

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