If you grew up listening to your parents tell you to move away from the TV screen because you’ll ruin your eyes, you probably rolled them in response. The fact is, prolonged screen time can have an effect on your eyes if you aren’t careful.
The good news is that there are plenty of steps you can take to prevent screen time from affecting the health of your eyes. Here at Classic Vision Care, Dr. Mital Patel helps her patients in Kennesaw, Marietta, and Atlanta, Georgia, battle computer vision syndrome with some simple, common-sense measures.
If you think you’re ruining your eyes with too much screen time, read on.
On the screen
If you try to imagine a day during which you don’t look at a single screen, it’s almost impossible to fathom. From the phone in your hand to the computer on your desk, you spend an increasing amount of time staring at screens; and you aren’t alone. Americans spend almost 11 hours each day looking at a screen, and this number continues to climb.
Although screen time is unavoidable, how you sit in front of, and look at, your screen can make a big difference in warding off computer vision syndrome.
The screen effect
Computer vision syndrome is a catchall term for a number of problems that stem from too much time in front of a screen. If you spend hours a day staring at tiny pixels, your eyes strain from the effort, which can lead to headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain.
Let’s start with your posture. Many people stare down at small screens on their phone throughout the day or use laptops and monitors that aren’t positioned high enough, causing your neck and shoulders to hunch.
Screens are also at a constant distance, so your eyes aren’t working to continually focus and refocus, which is what they’re designed to do.
Screens also stop you from blinking as much as you should. Your eyes need hydration and nourishment at all times, which is why we blink so often. When you’re staring at a screen, you tend to blink far less, which can cause your eyes to dry out.
The final problem with screens is the persistent glare. Many people work with screens that are too bright or in a place where the lighting isn’t right. This leads to dull and painful eye strain over time.
Whether you’re already feeling the effects of computer vision syndrome or you want to prevent it in the first place, here are five quick tips:
- Come in for a comprehensive eye exam, so we can make sure you have the correct corrective lenses, which even come with anti-glare features. Dr. Nadrag also offers specialty glasses for those who don’t wear corrective lenses.
- Practice the 20-20-20 rule where you look up from your screen every 20 minutes and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Be mindful of blinking. As you look at a screen, remember to blink because you likely aren’t doing it enough.
- Better lighting goes a long way toward easing eye strain. You can adjust your screens to minimize glare, and you should get rid of fluorescent lights and replace them with more natural lighting in your work space. Your screen should blend with the surrounding lighting, not pop out.
- Heads up. Most people hunch in front of screens, which wreaks havoc on your entire body. Place something under your monitor to lift it higher and raise your hand when you’re looking at your phone. The goal is to look straight ahead.
So, to answer the question posed in the title of this blog — Are you ruining your eyes with too much screen time? — we hesitate to say “ruin.” Screens can, and do, cause considerable strain and discomfort and lead to wider problems, so you’d do well to take a few simple steps to prevent this from happening.
If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to call us. Or you can use the online scheduling tool on this website to request an appointment.