It seems like everyone is focusing on display screens throughout most of their waking hours. From smartphones, tablets and e-readers to laptops, desktop computer monitors and television screens, technology has evolved to enhance every aspect of our lives. While computers have made life easier in many respects, digital eyestrain has emerged as one of the pitfalls of spending all of your time in front of them. Find out how your laptop, desktop and tablet are affecting your eyes and learn what you can do to reduce digital eyestrain.
What Causes Digital Eye Strain?
Individuals who are most likely to be affected are those who continually focus on a computer screen or handheld device for two hours or more on a daily basis. When your eyes try to focus on the content displayed on a digital screen, the following factors can make your eyes work harder:
- Glare and reflections on the screen
- Flickering text that is characteristic of older cathode ray tube monitors
- Inadequate contrast between the text and background hues
- Blue light waves that are emitted from digital screens
- Multiple areas on the screen that call your eyes to focus, including complex websites that feature popup advertisements and other distracting images
- Rapidly moving objects and backgrounds on a screen, such as those featured in video games
What Are the Signs of Digital Eye Strain?
Signs of digital eyestrain are not dissimilar to the signs that accompany any eyestrain that results from staring for prolonged periods on one focal point. The signs to look out for include the following:
- Dry eyes
- Blurring vision
- twitching eyes
- grittiness in the eyes
- Eye pain
Changes to Your Screen
If you are continuing to rely an old computer monitor that utilizes a cathode ray tube, it is time to combat this 21st century health issue with 21st century technology. Invest in a flat panel LED screen monitor, preferably one that is at least 19 inches in size when measured diagonally. When setting up a computer monitor, keep the following points in mind:
- Adjust the screen brightness so that it is approximately the same as the ambient light of your surroundings.
- Position the screen so that it sits between 20 and 24 inches away from your eyes, and the center of the screen should be positioned slightly below your eye level.
- Enlarge the displayed text so that it is comfortable for you to read without squinting.
- Adjust the contrast between the color of the text and that of the background so that the text appears sharp.
These changes should also be applied to handheld digital devices, such as e-readers, tablets and smartphones.
Changes to Your Environment
Making some changes to your surroundings while using a computer or handheld device for prolonged periods will be helpful in reducing your risk for digital eyestrain. Some changes include the following:
- Keep the ambient room lighting as natural as possible. Avoid bright lights, harsh sunlight or darkness when using a digital screen.
- Avoid sitting by potential sources of screen glare and reflections, such as bright windows, mirrors or walls that are covered with high gloss paint.
- Make a point of blinking as often as possible to keep your eyes drying.
- Be sure to take breaks in your digital activities. Work for 20 minutes. Then, focus on something else 20 feet away for 20 seconds before you continue your task. Stand up and walk away from your screen for five minute breaks every one to two hours.
Follow the aforementioned guidelines to protect your peepers while reaping the enjoyment and convenience of the digital age. For more information, talk to an eye clinic.