How much time do you spend looking at a screen all day? You’re reading this blog post, so that’s at least a couple of minutes. But what about checking emails, work, online shopping, social media (we know that Pinterest can send you down a rabbit hole for hours)—it starts to add up. And that can start to affect your eye health as well.
As screens and mobile devices become a more ever-present part of our everyday life, so does eye strain. In fact, some studies suggest that eye strain and other visual problems affect between 50 and 90 percent of computer workers.
According to the Mayo Clinic, eyestrain signs and symptoms include:
- Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
- Watery or dry eyes
- Blurred or double vision
- Sore neck, shoulders or back
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open
While screens won’t be going out of our life anytime soon, there are still a number of ways to help protect your eyesight.
- Get a routine eye exam. Getting a routine eye exam will help you detect and prevent problems before they happen. Talk to your doctor about how often you look at screens and any symptoms you’re having as a result.
- Make sure you have proper lighting. The biggest issue when looking at a screen is glare. Too much artificial or natural light can create glare, which tires out your eyes. Turn off harsh florescent lights and position your computer so natural light is coming in from the sides, not directly in front or behind.
- Take a break. To avoid eye strain throughout the day, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Adjust your screen’s brightness. You’re probably aware that you shouldn’t be looking at a 100% bright screen late at night, but what should it be adjusted to? Downloads like f.lux for Mac OS X adapt the color of your computer’s display to the time of day, such as warm at night and like sunlight during the day.
While eyestrain is usually more annoying than it is serious, it’s important to be cognizant of your eye health and make sure you’re protecting it.