By E. Flath
Winter is a time when many of us spend more time at home, and less time outside. This can also mean that we are spending more time on our computers, watching T.V., or using our phones to check social media (or buying stuff on Amazon). The good news is that it’s easy to prevent damage from screen time; the bad news is that spending long periods of time looking into computer, tablet, and smartphone screens causes a host of small-scale issues with our eyes, and may lead to more serious problems. Small-scale issues include burning, itchy or tired eyes, headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision, or head and neck pain.
There are easy ways to mitigate the effects of tech strain on our eyes:
- Take a 10 minute break every hour.
- Apply the 20-20-20 rule: take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes, and view something 20 feet away. This allows the eyes to relax back to parallel from the convergence they experience staring at images that are too near.
- Match the room lighting to the brightness on your device screen which also reduces eye strain.
- Get glasses specifically targeted to reduce eye strain. These are called, yes… “Computer Glasses.” These glasses offer lenses that have an anti-reflective coating and a light tint that protects against short-wavelength, blue-light; be sure to get these glasses from your eye care professional for the optimum benefit to your personal vision needs.
The reality is that technology is a part of our lives, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, there must be “moderation in all things.” Be sure to take breaks from your technology. Look into the distance and let your eyes relax. Employ the tips offered above to alleviate strain when you are using technology. Be sure to have yearly eye exams and speak openly with your eye care provider about your tech use. Remember, the first step toward solving a problem is admitting there is a problem!