Our usage of technology has drastically increased over the last decade. From TVs, gaming systems, computers, or laptops, and mobile devices that can be taken with us just about anywhere – our eyes are in constant demand, often working overtime just to focus. And as a result, more and more people are showing signs of digital eyestrain (DES).
When your eyes are working overtime, here’s how electronics could be affecting them, and some good practices you can develop to help mitigate that strain.
Digital Eye Strain
Ask anyone when was the last time they looked at a digital screen of some sort – chances are you won’t be hard-pressed to find several people who can tell you no less than five minutes ago. The convenience of our smartphones and devices that have become such a staple of our everyday lives are what are contributing greatly to the negative effects that are occurring with our eyes. Even with the improvement with resolution over the last few years, the frequency and increased duration in which we spend staring into those devices is what has become most worrisome for our eyes.
Digital eyestrain has been directly correlated to that extensive use of electronics. The symptoms include: redness, blurry vision, headaches, neck, shoulder and back pain, and dryness. These are a result from the combination of glare, prolonged eyestrain, and poor posture from staring down at the screen.
Most people have probably experienced symptoms of DES at some point, possibly without recognizing it.
How to Prevent DES
Digital eye strain can be reduced and mitigated with a few simple steps. Try to decrease the brightness of the monitor and screens of your devices, or use anti-glare screens. Try to reduce the amount of external, ambient light that’s present when focusing on a screen. Make sure that you are sitting at a good distance from computer screens – you should be about arm’s length away with the monitor placed slightly lower than eye level. And since we often forget to blink as much when focusing on a screen, try to make an effort to increase this to prevent your eyes from drying out. Use artificial tears for extended usage.
But most importantly, try to reduce the amount of time you spend in a given period looking at any device.
Always remember to takes breaks. The 20-20-20 rule is good practice to follow – every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away. This can help relieve the stress on your eyes.
Visit Your Eye Care Professional
If you do wear glasses, always wear them when looking at electronic screens, and have your eyes tested regularly by an eye care professional.