We rely on screens for just about everything these days — working from home, studying for class, and watching our favorite shows. And while screen time is typically okay in small doses, the majority of us are in front of screens several hours at a time, which can result in strained and fatigued eyes.
Although it’s hard to reduce our screen use completely, the good news is, we can take steps to help reduce the impact on our precious peepers.
Symptoms of digital eye strain
If your eyes feel like sandpaper at the end of the day, you’re not alone. You may also experience some of these symptoms:
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
Most of the time, these symptoms subside when you are away from your computer or phone and your eyes have had a break from screens. But if you experience anything chronic, such as blurred vision, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor.
How do screens cause eye fatigue, anyway?
We blink on average about 15 to 20 times a minute. (So that’s why staring contests are so difficult.) All that blinking covers your eyes with tears and keeps them from drying out. But when our eyes are focused, we tend to blink a lot less.
Now combine that with harsh blue light, contrasting colors, and flashing screens for a perfect storm that makes our eyeballs work extra hard to keep up.
On to the fun stuff (prevention)
You don’t have to cut out screen time completely. Here are a few ways you can keep your eyes healthy even with regular screen use:
Adjust your work area
Make sure your computer screen is about 25 inches (an arm’s length) away from your face. Keep the center of the screen about 10-15 degrees below eye level.
Take regular breaks
For every two hours of computer use, rest the eyes for 15 minutes. Also, for every 20 minutes of screen time, look into the distance for 20 seconds to give the eyes a chance to refocus.
Reduce blue light
Special lens tints and coatings can help filter that harsh blue light from screens. Both prescription and non-prescription blue light glasses work great. (We love Liingo Eyewear’s blue light glasses because they don’t have a yellow tint.)
Getting enough water each day will help your eyes stay hydrated. You might also benefit from running a humidifier in the area you use screens the most. And of course, there’s always artificial tears to keep your eyes moist.
Remember to blink
Seems easy enough, right? Blink regularly while you are focused on your computer to keep your eyes relaxed and hydrated.
Have you tried any of these tips for reducing digital eye fatigue? Let us know what worked for you in the comments.