In a world where the average worker spends most of their time working in front of a screen, it’s hard for our eyes to get used to all this screen time. A couple of decades ago, it would’ve been easy to recommend to stay away from screens as much as possible, but that is impossible in the current digital sphere. When you’re constantly moving your eyes in the physical world, through meetings and interactions, you’re helping your eyes stay healthy by blinking, which rarely happens while staring at a screen. We’ll mention a few tips that could help you protect your eyes from too much screen time.
Taking Schedule Breaks
While this isn’t a new solution, it’s far more effective than a lot of other advice. The creeping effect of too much screen time isn’t instantly noticeable unless you’ve been staring at a screen for 5-6 hours straight. This means that you’ll have to prevent the build-up by creating a schedule and following it. You can use a timer, preferably an on-screen one, that lets you know how long you’ve been looking at the screen.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the 20-20-20 rule is one of the most effective routines you can follow to protect your eyes from long-term screen exposure. Every 20 minutes of screen-time, take a 20-second break to look away at something a bit further from the screen and move your eyes around the room a bit. If possible, walking for a couple of minutes should help you stretch your muscles while relaxing your eyes as well.
Blue Light Glasses
The main villain in any eye strain story is blue light. It’s actually credited for making screens more energy efficient, but they have negative consequences. While it’s not dangerous per se, it can cause the accumulation of strain on the eyes. Blue light glasses can help prevent eye strain from a screen’s emitted light. It acts as a filter that blocks out certain frequencies and prevents them from impacting the eye. You’ll feel the difference quickly if you’re a regular computer user.
Customizing the Screen’s Light
When the environment you’re in is dimmer than the screen, your eye is going to work much harder to equalize the difference to be able to focus on the screen. Fortunately, the negative effect of imbalanced brightness isn’t ignored by either screen manufacturers or developers. Many applications and OS systems are now offering a dynamic contrast option, which allows the screen to change its brightness according to the lights that reflect on it. If you’re using computers, you can either use the internal settings to reduce its brightness or purchase a screen that has a built-in filter.
Positioning the Screen
If you’re someone who has to look at a computer screen for long durations, you might want to make use of the following tip. The screen’s placement and your distance can make a world of difference when it comes to countering the strain on your eyes. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you’re seated about one-arm-length away from the screen and try to make sure that the screen is positioned vertically, slightly lower than normal. This will help ensure that your eyes aren’t directly exposed to the screen’s light, reducing its harmful effects.
Maintaining Eye Moisture
Eyes naturally maintain their moisture and lubrication by blinking, but when it’s looking at a screen, the rate of blinking is significantly reduced. It’s not uncommon to find your eyes irritated and itching after a long session of staring at a screen. Remembering to blink may not be enough because you’re bound to forget. Keeping artificial tears close should work to counter the screen-induced dryness of your eyes. Once you feel that your eyes are drying up, apply a couple of droplets to keep them functioning properly and protect their environment. Offices usually have humidity-controlled air conditioning systems, but a desktop humidifier is a sound investment if you’re working from home.
Avoid Using Devices before Bed
Many people are under the habit of staring at a screen until they fall asleep, whether it’s a TV screen or a mobile. This is actually one of the things that can cause you insomnia and disturb your body’s natural circadian rhythm. The screen’s blue light can simulate daylight, confusing your body and making it harder for it to fall asleep. If you’re still adamant about using a screen before sleep, use nighttime settings and lower the brightness as much as possible.
As most of us transitioned to work from home, the strain on our eyes significantly increased, considering the extra time we spend looking at screens for reasons unrelated to work. Taking the right measures early enough will help us avoid the long-term repercussions of straining our eyes to a great extent.