It’s no surprise that media is the new normal in today’s world. In the United States, adults are spending more than 10 hours a day looking at a screen. Though there can be some positive impacts of media in our lives, such as for educational purposes and connecting with friends and family, an overconsumption of screen time could be affecting our health, especially our eyes. Here is what you need to know about the link between your screen and your eyes.
What to Consider
The biggest area to be mindful of is how your eyes are reacting to long periods of time in front of a computer or looking at your phone, as eye strain can occur. Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain is a growing condition around the nation, where out of the 80 percent of adults who use their computer for two hours of more, 59 percent reported digital eye strain symptoms, including
- Sore or tired eyes
- Dry eyes
- Blurry or double vision
- Neck, shoulder and back pain
- Difficulty concentrating
What’s causing this phenomenon? Researchers believe one factor could be due to blue light. The largest source of this naturally occurring light comes from the sun, but as technology progresses, more developers have been implementing it in fluorescent lighting, LED lighting and computer, phone and tablet screens.
The concern is what the long-term effect of blue light can do to our eyes. Though blue light can pass through your eye, this particular light on the color spectrum can keep us more alert. However, some medical researchers believe it could affect vision or age our eyes prematurely, as well as lead to retina damage. Additionally, the close proximity of our screens could be exasperating the effects of blue light exposure. Lastly, our children are the most affected by blue light, as they absorb blue light easier than adults, which can be concerning to some parents.
How to Take Care of Your Eyes
Luckily, there are simple protocols to follow to help mitigate your exposure to blue light and reduce your risk for Digital Eye Strain.
GET COMPUTER GLASSES
Whether you have a prescription or not, there are computer glasses that can help, especially if you work with computers all day. These specialized glasses have filters that block blue lights in your computer screen. They also work for phones, tablets and anything that has LED lighting.
Whether you struggle with eye strain or not, this is a good rule to abide by for your eye health. Every 20 minutes, stare at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to essentially reset and refocus.
SET YOUR COMPUTER AT AN APPROPRIATE DISTANCE
Though it may be tempting to have your monitor close by, it is more beneficial and ergonomically safe to have your screen at a safe distance. A good rule of thumb is positioning your monitor no closer than 20 inches from your eyes, or an arms length away, and adjusting your monitor’s height with the top of your screen right below eye level.
Still Having Problems?
Even though our eye health using computer screens is a growing concern, we have a team of award-winning opthalmologists who can help. If you are encountering persisting problems, schedule an appointment!