Tips to Prevent Digital Eye Strain
The use of digital devices has grown dramatically in recent years. As users spend a greater amount of time with their eyes on smartphones, tablets, flat screen televisions, LED monitors and other devices, they make themselves vulnerable to vision problems. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), 88 percent of Americans know that digital devices can harm their vision, yet the average American continues to spend seven or more hours a day staring at a digital screen. In fact, the average millennial can spend as much as nine hours a day across multiple devices. This can lead to an overexposure to high-energy blue light that causes sleep problems; neck and shoulder pain; headaches; blurred vision; dry eyes; eye irritation; and digital eye strain.
To minimize the impact of your favorite devices on your eyes, follow these simple tips:
- Shut down before bed: Turn off your devices an hour before you go to bed to make it easier for you to fall asleep.
- The 20-20-20 Rule: Take a 20 second break every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen. During this time, fix your sight on something 20 feet away to let your eye muscles relax.
- Keep your distance: Instead of bringing a device closer to your eyes, use the zoom feature to see smaller print and images.
- Personalize your settings: If necessary, reduce glare by changing your device’s display settings or by applying a physical filter to the screen to minimize reflected blue light.
In addition to these tips, Jenny Kuan OD, optometrist at PIH Health, recommends scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams to discuss the proper description, lens type and lens coatings (such as anti-reflective coatings) that may be appropriate for individuals experiencing digital eye strain. The benefit of a comprehensive exam is that a doctor will also be able to identify other visual problems that may be impacting a patient’s overall eye health.
For information on eye care services at PIH Health, visit https://www.pihhealth.org/services/eye-care/.