Increased screen time during the last two months may be making eyes tired and irritated for some Dunnellon residents. Here are five tips to help reduce digital eye strain.
Many people working from home find their days filled with Zoom meetings, working marathon days looking at screens, and helping their children with distance learning on devices.
Some are seeing a noticeable increase in digital eye strain, according to Hussain Elhalis, M.D., an eye surgeon at Ocala Eye.
Symptoms can include dry eyes, blurry vision, watery eyes, tired eyes, headaches, neck and shoulder pain.
“These maxed-out screen times, looking at mobile and computer screens all day, can irritate your eyes,” says Dr. Elhalis. “People need to adjust their routines to lessen digital eye strain. Fortunately, there are convenient and affordable ways to do this.”
Here are 5 tips to help reduce digital eye strain:
1. Start with a comprehensive, annual eye exam
As we age, changes to our vision can be subtle. That can hide developing health issues with our eyes until they become severe.
Getting an annual eye exam can help detect eye diseases and other conditions that can lead to loss of vision without treatment.
2. Maintain your digital distance from the screen
You can reduce digital eye strain by sitting back from your computer screen or mobile device.
Sitting back from your computer screen and holding your mobile device at arm’s length will help put less strain on your eyes. Maintaining your digital distance also reduces how much the lens has to change its shape to keep the screen in focus.
3. Consider using computer glasses with anti-reflective lenses
Computer glasses with anti-reflective lenses reduce glare and allow more light to go through the glasses into your eyes. The lenses result in less stress on the ciliary muscles of the eye. This helps your eyes to relax while you are wearing the lenses, and it helps reduce digital eye strain. These glasses also reduce the amount of blue light you see when you look at your computer screen.
4. Use a screen filter or app on your cell phone to reduce the blue light and glare it emits
Some news media reports say blue light emitted from our cell phone screens, tablet screens and computer screens can contribute to digital eye strain.
Dr. Elhalis says that’s not always the case.
“The misconception is that it’s specifically blue light that’s causing that- but we actually get more blue light from the sky than we do from our digital screens. A lot of it is actually just the fact that we’re not taking a break.”
5. Take frequent screen breaks and exercise your eyes with the 20/20/20 rule
The American Academy of Opthalmology recommends the 20/20/20 rule. After every 20 minutes of computer use, take a 20-second break. Stare off in the distance 20 feet away. That will reset your eyes and let them rest, so you can comfortably resume the activity on your computer or another screen.
Indeed, Dr. Elhalis and the entire Ocala Eye team encourage patients to adjust their routines to reduce digital eye strain and to improve their quality of lives, as they adjust work routines in the coming months.