Though screens seem to have made life more convenient, they are not without cause for concern. While the act of staring at a screen won’t necessarily cause permanent damage to your eyesight, extended screen time can definitely have a negative impact on your eyes.
Causes of Eyestrain
Eyestrain is characterized by tired, dry, irritated eyes and may be accompanied by headaches. In a normal setting, most people blink about 18 times per minute; this number is cut in half when staring at a screen, such as a smart phone, desktop or laptop computer, e-reader, or gaming device. A lack of blinking can quickly dry out the eyes without you even noticing.
Holding your head in the same position for lengthy periods can strain the muscles of the neck, thus causing tension headaches. The risk of headaches is heightened if you are constantly staring down at a phone or game. Additionally, keeping your gaze fixated on one point can tire the muscles of the eyes.
Eyestrain is worsened by sleep deprivation as well as incorrect usage of contact lenses. If you must be at your computer for a long period of time, try to intersperse power naps, and wear glasses if possible. Avoid sleeping in contact lenses, and place a warm, damp towel over closed eyes to garner some relief.
• Getting adequate sleep is essential to ensuring that your eyes receive rest and nourishment.
• Sit at least 25 inches away from your computer, and position it so that your eyes gaze slightly downward.
• Use a screen filter to reduce glare.
• Be sure that your workspace is properly lit.
• Take frequent blink breaks to keep your eyes moist.
• Follow the 20-20-20 rule, which means that every 20 minutes, you should fix your eyes on an object that is 20 feet away for a period of 20 seconds.
• Use artificial tears if needed.
Remember that your sore eyes are trying to tell you something…stop! If your notice your eyes becoming increasingly irritated, take a break, rest your eyes and resume your screen task at a later time.
Need an eye doctor in Gainesville, FL? Contact your local optometrist or opthamologist at Accent on Eyes who can talk to you about additional factors that may impact your eye comfort while on the computer.