How long have you been staring at your computer today? And how many hours have you spent looking at your phone? And how long do you watch TV on your laptop at night? Starting to add up to a lot of screen-time, eh?
Studies show that people spend an average of over 10 hours staring at a screen during the day (honestly, that seems kind of low). All that screen-time takes its toll on your eyes. More and more people are reporting cases of digital eye-strain which can be anything from mildly annoying to head-splittingly painful. Symptoms include sore, tired or burning eyes; blurred or double vision; light sensitivities; headaches; difficulty focusing and sore neck, shoulders or back.
Even if you don’t have those symptoms or don’t get them frequently, it’s a good idea to take care of those peepers. You’re going to need them for a while, after all. Here are some ways to lessen digital eye-strain and hopefully keep your eyes healthy.
The 20-20-20 Rule
No, this won’t give you your 20/20 vision back. The 20-20-20 rule is the most common suggestion from optometrists to help prevent eye-strain. The rule is: every 20 minutes you stare at a screen, spend 20 seconds staring 20 feet away. We suggest taking the opportunity to get up from your desk and stare out the window. Give every part of your body a little break.
Everyone knows there’s a ‘right’ way to sit at your desk. There’s also a right way to position your computer to make it the easiest on the eyes. Your eyes are the most relaxed when looking down so position your computer so the top of your monitor is level with them. You should also ensure that the screen is at least an arm’s-length away from you and that the brightness is set to match your surroundings.
Blue light filtering lenses
One of the suggested causes of eye-strain is specifically the blue light that is emitted from all our screens. To ease the damage to your eyes, you can purchase blue light filtering lenses that reflect some of that harmful light so it’s not reaching your eye.
Night Shift and f.lux
Don’t fret, there are freer ways to combat that blue light too. You can stop it right at the source. Obviously, there’s an app for that. Notably, Night Shift on your iPhone and the desktop add-on f.lux. Night Shift is a setting on your phone that can be accessed from the pull-up menu. It dims the blue light to make the screen easier on the eyes. f.lux adjusts the brightness and colour quality of your computer screen to mimic the time of day and your location. Apps like these can even help you sleep better because they combat the nasty trick bright screens play on our bodies, making them think it’s still light out and time to be awake.
This is your most expensive option, but if you have to look at a computer for work and you find yourself straining or in pain, this might be worth it. These lenses have your prescription in the top and middle with an added ‘boost’ in the bottom section. This boost gives you more clarity for close-up work and is supposed to relax your eye to lessen strain.
Don’t forget to blink
We know it sounds silly but hear us out. According to optometrists, on average, people blink about 12 times a minute. When we’re on the computer that slows down to just five times a minute. That’s why your eyes can seem dry after hours on the computer. So try to consciously remember to blink more than you think you might need to. Alternatively, if your eyes are still dry, grab some over-the-counter eye drops to moisten them up.