Posted June 3, 2021
Nearly everything in life has a digital connection, from smart TVs and smartphones to computers, game devices and tablets. Americans today spend hours on their screens. Nearly 85% of people use digital devices daily. About 31% say they use them all the time. Increased screen time can lead to digital eye strain, causing vision discomfort and eye pain, reports the American Optometric Association. About 83% of eye doctors say they see an increase in patient complaints about vision problems. In addition to eye strain, patients mention experiencing blurred vision, fatigue, dry eye and headaches. Here are five ways to protect your eyes when using digital devices.
Limit blue light
Digital screens usually emit blue light, called high-energy visible light or HEV light. With prolonged use, this blue light can irritate eyes, cause long-term retina damage and increase the risk for macular degeneration. Researchers also believe that using a digital device before bedtime can impact sleep. The blue light from digital devices interrupts the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Control exposure to blue light using a blue-light filter that fits over your device. Also, turn off devices at bedtime to prevent sleep disruption.
Most people blink 15 to 20 times each minute. This eye movement produces natural tears that keep the eyes moist and remove debris. However, when using digital devices, people get so absorbed in what they’re watching or reading that they forget to blink. Researchers say people may blink only seven to 10 times per minute when looking at a screen for long periods of time.
Take frequent vision breaks when using digital devices. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen at an object 20 feet or farther away for 20 seconds or more.
Avoid bright lights
Bright lights help people navigate through their homes, but less light is preferred when viewing screens. Too much light may create screen glare, forcing the eyes to work harder to see clearly.
Choose natural light
Whenever possible, view digital screens using natural light. Sit outside or close to a window. Young adults especially need natural, outdoor light to help their eyes mature and prevent myopia, nearsightedness, and other vision problems.