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13 Valuable Tips to Keep Your Eyes Safe During Prolonged Screen Time

13 Valuable Tips to Keep Your Eyes Safe During Prolonged Screen Time

In today's digital age, screen time has become a significant part of our lives. Be it for work, school, or leisure, we find ourselves staring at various screens for extended periods, leading to potential eye strain and other visual health concerns.

This guide provides 13 valuable tips to keep your eyes safe and healthy during prolonged screen exposure. Embracing these strategies will help you maintain good eye health, ensuring clarity and comfort as you navigate the digital world. Let's get started on taking care of our precious eyes!

Invest in blue light glasses

Blue light glasses have gained popularity due to their ability to filter out harmful blue light emitted by digital screens. These specially designed glasses reduce eye fatigue, minimize dry eye, and improve the quality of your sleep by blocking excessive blue light, particularly in the evening hours. Websites like blockbluelight.co.uk offer a wide range of glasses, suited for both day and night use. Aside from glasses, you can also take advantage of other blue light-blocking solutions like lamps and light bulbs, to create a healthier light environment in your home or office. After all, prevention is better than cure!

Follow the 20-20-20 rule

The 20-20-20 rule is a simple and effective strategy to mitigate eye strain during prolonged screen time. Here's how it works: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. This brief respite allows your eyes to rest and reduce fatigue.

Research supports the efficacy of this practice, noting that it aids in decreasing the risk of eye strain and other related issues. Make it a habit to use this rule, and consider setting a reminder on your device to ensure you don't forget. With the increasing reliance on digital screens in our daily lives, it's crucial to incorporate strategies like the 20-20-20 rule to preserve and enhance our visual health.

Adjust screen brightness

An excessively bright screen can lead to eye strain and dryness, while a screen that's too dim can cause you to squint and strain your eyes. It's best to adjust your screen brightness so it's not too far off from the light level in your surrounding environment.

Many digital devices have an automatic brightness setting that adjusts based on ambient light, which can be a helpful feature. It's also recommended to use a matte screen filter if you're working under bright lighting or near windows to reduce glare, which can further cause eye discomfort. These are simple adjustments but they can provide significant relief to your eyes when spending extended periods in front of a screen.

Use proper lighting

Ideally, the light source should be directly behind or next to your monitor and not aimed at it, as this can create glare and reflection on the screen. If you're using natural light, avoid placing your screen in front of a window or any other bright light source. This can cause visual discomfort and make it difficult to see the screen. Instead, try using a desk lamp with a soft white bulb for sufficient illumination.

The goal is to avoid extremes of either too much or too little light. Direct the light source away from the screen to minimize reflection and aim it perpendicular to your line of sight. In addition, adjustable blinds on windows can control the amount of light entering your workspace, reducing the chances of glare and eye strain. The type, quality, direction, and amount of light you have in your workspace can significantly impact your visual comfort and performance.

Upgrade your monitor

If you have an older monitor, consider upgrading to a newer model with an anti-reflective surface and a higher resolution. Modern LCD screens are easier on the eyes than older CRT monitors and come with features that can further reduce eye strain. Aim for a display with a high resolution – at least 1080p is advisable. Higher resolution means sharper images and less strain on your eyes while reading or viewing content.

Even consider a monitor with a refresh rate of at least 75 Hertz (Hz). A higher refresh rate means images change faster and smoother, causing less strain on your eyes. Screen size also matters: the bigger the display, the easier it is to read text and view content, reducing the need for squinting.

Blink often

You may be surprised to know that we blink less when looking at digital screens, which can cause dry eyes and discomfort. Research suggests that the average person blinks only 18 times per minute, compared to a normal rate of 15-20 times per minute.

Being mindful of your blinking habits and consciously trying to blink more often can alleviate dryness and strain. Make it a habit to use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to keep your eyes moist and comfortable. This is especially important during long stretches of screen time when our blink rate can decrease even further.

Pay attention to text size and contrast

Small, blurry, or excessively bright text can strain your eyes and make it difficult to read for extended periods. When using digital devices, adjust the settings so the text size is comfortable for you – not too small or too large.

Similarly, choose a contrast setting that works best for you. Black text on a white background is often the most comfortable combination but you can experiment and find what suits you. Avoid using bright colors or low contrast, as this can cause your eyes to work harder to focus on the words.

Maintain a proper distance

Sitting too close or too far from your screen can also contribute to eye strain and discomfort. Experts recommend sitting at arm's length (about 25 inches) from your computer screen, with the top of the monitor at or just below eye level.

If you find yourself leaning toward the screen, increase the font size instead. Likewise, if you're sitting too far, decrease the font size so you can comfortably read and view content without squinting or straining your eyes.

Adjust your screen position

As mentioned above, the top of your screen should be at or slightly below eye level. In addition, the center of your screen should be about 20 degrees below eye level so your gaze is directed downward.  This posture reduces strain on your neck and back muscles while allowing you to keep a comfortable viewing distance from the screen. Consider using a monitor stand or elevating books under your laptop to achieve the proper height and position.

Use screen filters

If you frequently work in public spaces or have a shared workspace, consider using a privacy filter to prevent others from viewing your screen. This can also serve as an additional layer of protection for your eyes by reducing glare and reflection.

Privacy filters come in various sizes and are easily removable, making them convenient for use on different devices. They are particularly useful when working with confidential information and can also prevent others from getting distracted by your screen.

Follow a balanced diet

Believe it or not, nutrition plays a significant role in maintaining good eye health. Consuming foods rich in nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and E, omega-3 fatty acids, and lutein can protect your eyes from digital screen-related damage.

Include green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, fish like salmon and tuna, nuts, eggs, and citrus fruits in your diet to get these essential nutrients. Don't forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, the most important factor in maintaining healthy eyes.

Exercise your eyes

Just like any other part of your body, your eyes need regular exercise too. Eye exercises can enhance focus, stimulate eye muscles, and improve overall eye health. Simple exercises include blinking exercises, focus changes, figure eight, and zooming exercises. For instance, blink your eyes rapidly for a few seconds and close them for 20 seconds — repeat this cycle five times. For the zooming exercise, focus on a distant object and slowly shift your focus to a near object.

These exercises should be done in moderation and should not cause any discomfort. If you feel any discomfort during these exercises, stop immediately and consult an eye health professional. Integrating these exercises into your daily routine can reduce the effects of screen time on your eyes.

Schedule regular eye appointments

Regular eye examinations detect any potential issues early and ensure your eyes are in optimal health. An eye care professional can evaluate the condition of your eyes and provide personalized advice to protect them from excessive screen exposure.

It's advisable to have an eye check-up at least once a year but if you experience symptoms like persistent eye discomfort, blurred vision, or frequent headaches, consult an eye care professional immediately. After all, proactive eye care is the key to maintaining good vision and overall eye health amidst our digitally driven lifestyle.

The rise in screen time, although inevitable, doesn't have to be synonymous with eye strain and discomfort. By integrating these valuable tips and strategies into your daily routine, you can enjoy the digital world while safeguarding your eye health.

Healthy eyes contribute significantly to our overall well-being and quality of life. So, make eye care a priority and embrace these practices to ensure your eyes remain safe, healthy, and comfortable, no matter how much screen time you engage in. Regular check-ups and a balanced diet will further supplement your efforts, paving the way for a digitally healthy lifestyle.

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