Living in a digital age, it is incredibly easy for us to overexpose ourselves to screens. Most of our work environments involve looking at screens, we relax in front of the television at the end of the day, and it’s increasingly common to fall down the rabbit hole scrolling on our phones. Digital screens are everywhere and they affect our daily lives more than you may realize. According to data from Comparitech, the average screen time in the United States is 7 hours 4 minutes per day — 7 minutes more than the global average.

The Effects of Too Much Screen Time

With such a significant amount of screen time comes some disadvantages. Common screen time effects include headaches, eye strain, dry eyes, and insomnia. This is because we tend to stare at a computer screen and blink much less than normal. Plus, many of us are often viewing these screens at a close distance, which is harsh on the eyes.

Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization recognized a change during the COVID-19 pandemic where the world saw an increase in screen use due to remote work environments. The drastic increase negatively impacted many individuals’ overall eye health and well-being. We’d like to provide tips on how to protect your eye health and alleviate symptoms of excess screen use!

Defend Your Site Against Digital Screens

Even though it may feel like we can’t escape digital screens, it is possible (and quite easy) to protect those peepers! And great news — there’s no need to buy those pricey blue light-blocking glasses. You can alter your environment and adopt simple eye-healthy habits to improve your work life and personal life. Studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between vision and productivity. In order to be your best self at work and home, we’d recommend using these five tips:

  • Give your eyes a break
  • Use a screen with proper lighting
  • Allow space between you and your screens
  • Prevent dry eyes
  • Limit screen use before bed

Give your eyes a break

Prevent strained eyes by following the 20-20-20 Rule! For every 20 minutes spent staring at a screen, give your eyes a break by looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will allow your eyes to relax.

Use a screen with proper lighting

Do your best to reduce glare in your workspace. Glass screens can produce glare that can irritate your eyes. You may want to consider using a matte screen filter if you don’t have control over the lighting in your environment.

Allow space between you and your screens

Aside from taking breaks away from your digital devices, be sure to position your screens at a good distance. When you have your device too close to your face, your eyes have to work even harder to see the screen. This can cause eye strain or fatigue, so if possible, keep your screens about 25 inches away, or about an arm’s length away. Remember to position the screen so your eye gaze is directed slightly downward.

Prevent dry eyes

Living or working in a place with dry air can take a toll on your eyes. Humidity-controlled spaces pull moisture out of the air and can cause dryness. During the colder months, running the heater can increase your dry eye symptoms. Keeping artificial tears or lubricant eye drops nearby and using them as needed can help alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes. It is also important to note that products promising to “get the red out” may not be effective in treating dry eyes and may cause unwanted side effects. There are several artificial tears or lubricant eye drops that are FDA approved for the treatment of dry eyes. Some of these include:

• Refresh Tears Lubricant Eye Drops
• Systane Complete Lubricant Eye Drops
• Blink Tears Lubricating Eye Drops
• TheraTears Lubricant Eye Drops
• GenTeal Tears Lubricant Eye Drops

These drops are available over-the-counter without a prescription and can be used to relieve the symptoms of dry eyes such as itching, burning, and redness. It’s always important to consult with your healthcare provider or eye doctor before starting any new medications or treatments for your eyes.

You may also want to consider using a desktop humidifier to introduce moisture into your environment. Additionally, certain indoor plants can help humidify the air. Find your green thumb and get relief for your eyes!

Limit screen use before bed

Spending time playing games or scrolling through social platforms might seem like a great way to unwind before you go to sleep, but the blue light from our digital devices affects the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. Blue light stimulates the brain, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep. We would recommend avoiding using screens one to two hours before bed. You may want to consider using “dark mode” or “night mode” on devices in the evening as well.

Improve Your Life With Help From Vistar Eye Center

Our team at Vistar Eye Center regularly updates our blog with articles to help our community better their eye health and well-being. Peruse the blog on our website to find more health tips. If you ever have any concerns about your or your loved ones’ vision, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our staff members can assist you in scheduling an appointment. We would be happy to help you!