Something you’re doing RIGHT NOW could be putting you at risk for eye strain.
Experts say you likely will spend over a thousand hours doing it this year alone. And that number is bound to grow.
I’m talking about staring at a computer screen, of course.
If you’re a typical office worker your screen time averages around six and a half hours a day. That’s about 1,700 hours a week, according to a recent study.
But even if you work outside of an office, or are retired, you likely spend a lot of time in front of one screen or another.
After all, these days we use computers to stay in touch, shop, pay bills, and entertain ourselves.
And no matter whether that screen time is spent watching a cute cat video on your smartphone or paying a bill on your PC it can take its toll.
Which is why complaints of eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, and insomnia have skyrocketed.
According to the new study, 37 percent of participants admit to regularly squinting to see what’s on their various screens.
While nearly 40 percent say, they also experience regular headaches from staring at computer screens for long periods.
Plus, nearly half of the folks surveyed, 48 percent, said they’ve experienced dry eyes or soreness as a result of too much screen time.
The 2 main triggers behind eye strain
Ophthalmologists say there are two primary reasons we’re feeling so much eye strain. And as strange as it sounds, the first has to do with how often we blink.
It turns out when we stare at a computer screen we blink far less than usual. In fact, it’s not unusual to blink one third to half as often as you would otherwise.
And that, of course, is a recipe for dry and achy eyes… or what is commonly called eye strain.
Then, to add insult to injury, we often look at our digital devices at bad angles and the wrong distances. And this, obviously, causes strain too.
And yet, one in five folks in the study hadn’t seen an eye doc in at least two years. In fact, over half of the survey takers admitted that their eyes were the organ they paid the LEAST attention to.
6 simple tips to reduce eye strain
You only get one set of eyes, so it’s time to start taking better care of yours. And don’t worry, you won’t have to buy a pair of pricey computer glasses to do it.
Following are six simple, but effective, ophthalmologist recommended tricks for reducing eye strain and the symptoms that come with it.
1. Get rid of glare:
The light reflecting off of glass screens can irritate your eyes. To compensate you end up squinting which causes eye tension and fatigue. Try using a screen filter to reduce the glare and the resulting eye strain. Anti-glare filters are available for PC screens, tablets, and even smartphones.
2. Make it moist:
When you stare at a screen all day, you don’t blink as often which can dry out your eyes. Plus, indoor heating and cooling systems can dry out the air making things worse. Keep a bottle of artificial tears nearby to lubricate your eyes when needed. And consider using a humidifier.
3. Fine-tune the lighting:
Both room light and the brightness of your screen can lead to eye strain. If your screen is a lot brighter than your room light, your eyes have to work harder. So fine-tune your lighting by adjusting the ambient light in the room and increasing the contrast on your screen until you achieve a comfortable, eye-friendly balance.
4. Distance do-over:
The closer you are to your screen the harder your eyes have to work. Make sure your monitor is at least an arm’s length away (around 25 inches) to avoid eye strain. And your screen should be positioned so that you have to gaze slightly downwards instead of straight on or up.
5. Take a break:
Now that you know that staring at a screen makes you blink less make an effort to blink more. Each blink is a mini-break for eyes. And eventually, it will become a habit. But don’t stop there. Implement the 20-20-20 rule too. Every 20 minutes take an eye break by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Set a timer at first until it becomes second nature.
6. Break it off before bed:
The blue light given off by digital screens has been linked to sleep problems. Experts believe it confuses out circadian rhythm interrupting our natural sleep and wake cycle. Avoiding blue light later in the evening could help prevent insomnia. Use nighttime mode on your devices in the evening and switch off your screens two hours before bedtime.
The good news is eye fatigue, and its related symptoms, aren’t usually serious. When you implement these six tips, you’ll give your peepers the break they need, erasing eye strain for good. If you find you’re still having eye trouble, make an appointment to see your ophthalmologist to have them checked.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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