You know that staring at a computer screen or handheld device for long periods can put a strain on your eyes. It can be especially stressful for young eyes, which became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic when so many children had to attend online classes. So what can you do to lessen the effects of too much computer time on your eyes as well as your kids' eyes?
The Problem With Screens
There are unique differences when viewing a digital screen, as opposed to a printed page. Screens produce glare and have reduced contrast between the letters and the background. Viewing distance and screen angles can further affect your vision system.
There may also be problems caused by the light emitting from the screen. Your devices produce a large amount of blue light, and some studies in animals have shown that blue light may harm retinal tissues. Although there is not yet enough evidence to show that it is harmful to the human eye, it's wise to be aware of how much time you spend absorbing that light.
In addition to blue light, there are other issues that come from long hours in front of the computer. Most of them can be lumped into the condition named Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). CVS includes symptoms such as dry eyes, eye strain, blurred vision, headaches, and neck pain, which can affect your ability to view the screen easily.
With so many people working from home and students attending classes online, reducing computer time is difficult. But there are other ways to combat CVS if limiting computer time is not an option. For example, people tend to blink less when staring at their screens. Blinking adds moisture to the eyes to keep them from drying out, so try to do this more often. You can also adjust screen brightness and contrast. Brightness should match the light in the room and contrast should be increased to make letters stand out.
Another tip is to use the 20-20-20 rule. To reduce eye strain, look away from the screen every 20 minutes, and look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Some people choose to wear computer glasses to protect their eyes. These are prescription eyeglasses that let you focus at computer-screen distance, which is about 20 to 26 inches from your eyes.
You can also adjust your chair so that you are sitting about 25 inches away from your screen. It should be slightly lower than eye level, so you don't have to look straight ahead or up.
CVS can affect the quality of your work and enjoyment of online activities. With these tips and a little common sense, you can relieve the discomfort and vision problems brought on by your digital screens.
For more eye care tips, contact an optometrist in your area.
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