In an increasingly digital world I’m sure we can all relate to spending a rather unhealthy amount of time engrossed in our phones. Scrolling on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok at 2am in the morning, sending memes and GIFs to your friends despite having a 9am in the morning. No Judgement, we’ve all been there. If we’re not our phones, it’s the laptops, iPads, TV’s, Computer’s, the list goes on. If it’s not for leisure it’s for work or studying. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this and prolonged use of time on our screens can sometimes be uncontrollable; I think it’s necessary that we all take into account the detrimental effect this can have on our eye health.
Do your eyes often get red, watery and irritated after staring at your phone screen for too long? Or do you ever feel an eye muscle spasm or develop a mild headache after a long studying session?
A lot of the time we dismiss these symptoms as an indication of tiredness or fatigue, when in reality these are very common symptoms of eye strain that can be avoided.
What is Eye Strain?
According to Wilmer Eye Institute Ophthalmologist Esen K. Akpek ‘When you look at something closeup such as a computer screen or cell phone, the lens of the eye naturally contracts. If you’re looking at a screen for prolonged periods, the lens doesn’t have the chance to relax, which leads to eye fatigue.’ He explains how ‘blinking replenishes the tear layer that smooths the surface across the cornea and helps sharpen’ our vision’. When we stare at our phone screen we unconsciously blink less and as a result stop this process.
Common symptoms of Digital Eye Strain are:
- Blurred Vision
- Double Vision
- Dry eye
- Eye Discomfort
- Eye Fatigue
- Eye itching
- Eye redness
How can we avoid these symptoms?
It would be ignorant of me to say avoid screens all together. Especially in today’s age, however there are a range of things we can do to create a better work environment and avoid Digital Eye Strain.
- Rest your eyes at least 15 minutes after 2 hour intervals of using a digital device
- Enlarge the text on your computer screen or digital device.
- Think about using a screen glare filter.
- Place your screen about 20 to 28 inches from your eyes. (arm’s length)
- Remember to blink often.
So next time you find yourself immersed in an online twitter thread about star signs or the premier league spare some thought for your poor eyes and implement at least one of the changes listed above.
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