Eye strain is becoming an all too common problem due to the fact that virtually all of us are spending more time than ever in front of our screens. If you’ve ever suffered from tired eyes, difficulty focusing or a sore neck & back, you might be suffering from DES – or digital eye strain. Limiting screen time, and using screens appropriately when you must, is so important to protecting your overall eye health. Here are some tips to help you limit your screen time and protect your vision when you must log on:
1. Take care of your eye health
No matter how much you limit your screen time, it won’t matter if you’re not properly taking care of your eyesight. Scheduling regular eye exams and investing in properly fitted glasses will help minimize the eye strain caused by too much screen time. If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer for work, you can even invest in a pair of blue screen glasses. These special glasses are designed to limit your exposure to harmful blue light caused by smartphones, tablets, computers and e-readers.
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2. Create a screen-time schedule
As much as we all love scrolling through our instagram feeds, it’s extremely important to limit screen time. In fact, experts recommend limiting recreational screen use to only 1 – 2 hours a day! Creating a schedule for yourself might seem like a simple solution but it’s often the most simple methods that actually work! If you work in front of a computer designate certain times of the day for work and try to avoid screens during your free time. If you’re trying to reduce your smartphone usage, keep your phone in another room so that you don't absentmindedly grab for it. Reward yourself for creating a positive schedule and stick to it – just don’t be naughty and choose more screen time as a reward!
3. Use some old-fashioned alternatives
We have become so dependent on our devices that we often forget that there are wonderful alternative ways of doing things. One simple way to limit your screen time outside of work is to see how many activities you normally use a screen for that you can replace with their old fashion counterparts! Challenge yourself to try some of these alternatives:
- Use recipe books or old family recipes instead of googling recipes
- Take your exercise outdoors and enjoy nature if you normally workout in front of a screen
- Take notes with a paper and pen rather than typing them out
- Enjoy a newspaper with a fresh cup of coffee rather than relying on news sources online
- Visit your favorite bookstore and buy a paperback rather than using your e-reader
Replace just 1 or two of your regular screen time activities with some of these fun alternatives and you’ll see how natural it becomes to unplug from your smartphone!
4. Protect your eyes with 20/20/20 rule
There are a few things that you can do to help prevent eye strain when you are using your screens. One of these is the 20/20/20 rule. Science has shown that this easy trick can help prevent the dry, tired eyes often caused by continuous screen use. It’s simple to do. Set a timer to go off every 20 minutes while you’re working. When the timer rings, simply find an object that’s 20 feet away from you and stare at it for 20 seconds. This causes your eyes to naturally relax and therefore get a much needed break from the constant focus on a computer. You don’t need to focus on anything in particular for it to work, try staring out a window or at an object across the room.
5. Adjust your screen settings
You don’t need to stick with the factory settings your device comes with. In fact, changing up the settings might be beneficial to your eyesight! Most smartphones, tablets and computers allow you to change the brightness, contrast and text settings so play around and find what works for you. Try increasing the text size so that text messages and websites are easier to read. When you are indoors, use a lower brightness setting to reduce eye strain. At night time, see if your phone has a night mode that you can take advantage of!
Try all of these tips to help reduce tired, dry eyes caused by too much screen time. Excess screen time is linked to poor diet, neck & back pain, sleep problems and difficulty concentrating, so do your best to log off more often!