Prevent eye fatigue resulting from screen time. Learn the symptoms and prevention strategies to use your device wisely.
Eye strain is increasingly common among both young and old, from staring at computer screens or other digital devices for too long without employing smart strategies to mitigate the fatigue.
General Eye Health
Our eyes are responsible for about four-fifths of all the information our brain receives – that’s quite the responsibility. The parts work together like a finely tuned machine to do their job and function as one so that we can see.
Vision Care and Eye Exams
According to Vision Initiative, over 90% of vision loss is preventable or treatable, so it’s important to have regular eye exams for early detection of the conditions that may lead to poor eye health. In between appointments, there are some simple ways you can protect your vision, and take care of your eyes every day.
1. When you’re outside, wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the harsh glare of the sun.Increased UV exposure may impact macular health. The right pair of shades also help to protect your eyes from drying wind.
2. Maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables or take a supplement for essential vitamins and minerals.Omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc and vitamins C and E are important nutrients for eye health.
3. Wear eye protection when engaging in sport or working in an environment with debris or projectiles.Helmets with face shields also go a long way toward protecting your eyes, too.
4. Stop smoking. Those harmful chemicals found in cigarettes can lead to damage to your iris and retina. Smoke is also an irritant and can lead to dry eye, and also affect the tissues around your eyes through puffiness and inflammation.
5. Drink water, and lots of it.
Preventing Eye Fatigue During Screen Time
Screen time is a fact of life, and although our devices make our lives easier in so many ways, it’s important to be aware of the negative ways in which they can affect our eye health. Prevent eye fatigue by establishing some or all of these good habits when using your device.
- The golden rule of 20/20/20 works like this. For every 20 minutes you spend staring at a screen, look at something at least 20 feet (6 metres) away for at least 20 seconds straight. This grants your eyes a well-deserved break.
- Adjust your lighting appropriately. Working from home? Ensure your environment isn’t too bright which can lead to squinting. Close window shades or change to lower wattage bulbs if necessary.
- Consider a humidifier to add moisture to the air; keeping eyes hydrated helps prevent irritation and itchiness from dryness.
- Move the screen so that your eyes are level with the top edge of the monitor. This allows you to look slightly down and prevents poor posture.
- Is your chair comfortable and suitable for the task at hand? Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
- Keep artificial tears nearby so you can reach for them as needed. (Be sure to check the label if you’re a contact lens wearer as only certain formulations can be used with the lenses).
- Blue light blocking glasses are an inexpensive and portable way to prevent eye fatigue. Add them to your existing prescription, get them in reading glasses or even in non-prescription lenses for those of you who don’t need vision correction.
How to Know When Your Eyes Need a Break
So, how do you know when your eyes need a rest? The symptoms are there if you’re in tune with what they’re telling you.
- Red, watery or irritated eyes
- Tired, aching or heavy eyelids
- Difficulty focusing
- Increased inability to keep eyes open