Avoiding too much screen time may seem particularly challenging right now — we know that screen time has gone through the roof under the current pandemic. Don’t despair, there are things you can do to avoid unnecessary eye strain.
While digital devices can’t in themselves permanently damage your eyes, there are some very uncomfortable side effects that come from intensified screen usage. These side effects can affect people of all ages.
One of the most uncomfortable side effects can be dry, irritated eyes, as our blinking is affected by screen usage. Combat this by using artificial tears (4-6 times per day), adding a humidifier to your room or home, or trying a warm compress. This last tip is easy – just place a clean tea towel or face cloth in warm water and place over your eyes for five minutes.
The 20-20-20 rule is as easy as they come: for every 20 minutes of screen time, look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Set an alarm if it helps you to remember!
It’s important to regularly step away and take a break entirely too. Try to get up and moving and away from your screen every hour if possible.
Keep your screen’s light level in synch with the ambient light around you. This will keep your pupils from continually expanding and contracting. You can also try a matte screen filter to cut glare and adjust the contrast on your screen to help reduce eye strain further. Increasing the font size of what you’re reading or working on can also help.
Adjust Your Posture
Did you know that poor posture can add to muscle tension and headaches associated with eye strain? Encourage your kids to hold their own books and digital media at least 18-24 inches away from their faces.
We know that screen usage too close to bedtime can degrade the quality of our sleep. Avoid using screens late in the evening if you can.