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Prioritizing eye health in a digital world

Article

In addition to these tips on preventing digital eye strain, it is important to implement other eye-healthy habits.

Image Credit: © Syda Productions - stock.adobe.com

It is important to understand what digital eye strain is and its causes. Blinking rates dramatically decrease when working on a computer, ultimately causing irritating, or even painful, symptoms. (Image credit: Adobe Stock/Syda Productions)

Studies suggest that people now spend upwards of 13 hours looking at a screen every day – a number that is likely to continue to increase with hybrid work environments that require daily Zoom calls and the immediacy of streaming entertainment. But not taking preventative measures, can potentially cause many negative effects to eye health, including dry, burning and itchy eyes, blurred vision and headaches.

It is important to understand what digital eye strain is and its causes. Blinking rates dramatically decrease when working on a computer, ultimately causing irritating, or even painful, symptoms. And the contrast of text against a background on a computer screen can be harmful on the eyes. While the increase of digital screen time is unlikely to end soon, there are several methods individuals can take to lessen the symptoms of computer vision syndrome.

Here are a few approaches you can take: 

  • Placing your computer screen about two feet away from your face, and below eye level.
  • Change the lighting on your screen to reduce the glare and harsh reflections that cause eye strain. Glare filters can be placed over digital screens to help minimize this problem.
  • Practicing the “20-20-20” rule when taking breaks: Looking away from your screen every 20 minutes and focusing on an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  • Close your eyes for a brief period of time and blink repeatedly. This will help spread your tears evenly and release necessary oils for a healthy tear film.
  • Make sure the lighting in your room is bright. If your screen is brighter than your other surroundings, it can be very irritating to your eyes.
  • If you wear contact lenses, give your eyes a break by wearing your glasses.
  • Most importantly, get regular eye exams. You may need certain glasses when working on your computer such as blue-light filtering glasses. These glasses help prevent blue light from reaching your eyes and improve symptoms of digital eyestrain.

In addition to these tips on preventing digital eye strain, it is important to implement other eye-healthy habits such as wearing protective eyewear, cleaning your hands and contact lenses properly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, regularly getting eye exams, avoiding smoking and being aware of your family’s eye health history. These simple steps can make a huge impact on contributing to your eye’s overall health.

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