Is Too Much Screen Time Straining Your Eyes? Here’s How To Reduce It

The global move to a totally digital existence was perhaps the most startling of the many profound shifts the epidemic brought with it. Zoom conversations replaced in-person meetings and brainstorming sessions as schools abruptly transitioned to virtual learning. Most of us could only communicate with our loved ones digitally. There's no getting away from the screen, really, even when some areas of the world start to open up. Even now, most of our social contacts take place behind one. Screen time has surged globally and doubled among children since Covid began. And with that came the increased risk of eye strain.

Why do screens cause eye strain?

The outermost surfaces of the eye are protected by a thin film of fluid called the tear film. It helps maintain healthy eye function and safeguards the eye from potentially hazardous bacteria and viruses. We typically blink 15 to 20 times every minute. This uniformly distributes tears over your eyes, preventing dryness and irritation. However, whether reading, viewing, or playing on a screen, people blink less than half as frequently. It can also be difficult for your eyes due to the brightness of digital screens, glare, and flickering, as well as the contrast of text against the background.

How to reduce eyes strain?

Reduce the glare

Digital eye strain can also result from glare from light bouncing off walls and polished surfaces, as well as reflections on your computer screen. Think about getting an anti-glare screen for your display, and, if at all possible, repaint your stark white walls a deeper shade with a matte finish. Consider purchasing lenses with an anti-reflective (AR) coating if you wear eyeglasses. By reducing the quantity of light reflected off the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses, AR coating lessens glare.

Adjust the Lighting

A properly lighted space is important even if your screen is backlit. Too much light or too little might cause headaches and increased eye strain. Your screen should be sufficiently bright to avoid the need for squinting, but not so bright that it appears to be illuminated.

Blue Block Light

Despite the fact that blue light is present everywhere, including in sunlight, computer and smartphone screens have a concentrated amount that is difficult for your eyes to filter out. Long-term exposure to blue light can cause headaches, eyestrain, and interfere with your sleep. When looking at displays, use blue light glasses or use built-in blue light filters, which are now standard on most laptops and smartphones.

Give your computer screen more room to breathe

Your face should be roughly 25 inches away from the monitor. Any closer than 25 inches, and your ciliary muscle needs to work harder to focus on the screen. Position your screen at an arm's length away by extending your arm. You are more inclined to scoot forward in the chair to align your eyes with the screen if your screen is too close to you. This could cause you to hunch over, lean into the screen, and slouch your body, which could lead to a strained neck or additional headaches.

Blink more frequently

Blinking is essential when working at a computer because it keeps your eyes wet and prevents dryness and irritation. During prolonged periods of no blinking, tears coating the eye evaporate more quickly, which can lead to dry eyes. Additionally, the dry air in many office settings can hasten the rate at which your tears evaporate, putting you at a higher risk for dry eye issues. Ask your eye doctor about artificial tears to use during the day if you encounter symptoms of dry eye.

Try the 20-20-20 rule

Every 20 minutes, take a break from your laptop work. Give your eyes a chance to rest by focusing on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This eases the tension in the eye muscle that needs to be contracted in order to focus on close objects.

Eat healthy

Taking care of your eyes also necessitates some lifestyle modifications. Consider paying close attention to your daily diet. Your eyes can be made stronger to withstand the damaging effects of blue light with the aid of a balanced diet. Choose foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, leafy greens, and beta-carotene-rich fruits and vegetables. The macular pigments that block up to 80% of the blue light that tries to reach the retina are supported by these foods.

Plan yearly eye check-ups

Regular eye exams are crucial, particularly if you frequently have signs of digital eye strain. Your eyes may already be tired from poor vision. If you have a refractive error, which happens when the shape of your eye does not bend light properly, causing a blurry image, your eye specialist can rectify it. A light prescription might even be helpful.

Make Tech-Free Zones

Make certain areas of your home—like the bedroom or the bathroom—tech-free zones. If you work on a computer all day, it won't be good for your eyes to come into bed and scroll around social media until you pass out.