With so much technology in the palm of our hand, we’re spending more and more time staring at screens — on our phone, computer, tablet or TV. Whether that’s for work, a hobby or just taking downtime by scrolling through social media, our eyes can feel the impact. As an ophthalmologist, I have a few tips for you to think about next time you’re scanning the screen.
Blink like you mean it
Humans normally blink about 15 times per minute. When we look at a computer, that number goes down to only 5 to 7 times a minute. Try to remind yourself to blink more often. If you have trouble with this, you can try artificial tears or put a humidifier in the room to increase moisture in the air — this can especially be helpful during the colder months if the heater is on.
Give your eyes a break
When you stare at a computer, phone screen or even read a book, you can strain your eyes and thus, they get dry. Try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and focus on something at least 20 feet away. After, you can re-focus on where you left off.
Adjust your surroundings
Adjust your screen brightness to match the level of light around you. You can also increase the contrast on your screen and see how that works for you. It’s also important to be aware of your position and posture while sitting or standing at work, home or on-the-go. Sit about an arm’s length away from the screen and position it so that your eyes gaze slightly downward.
Do your research
As of today, there is no evidence that light from a computer screen is damaging to eyes. Though a number of people promote and use blue light blocking glasses, they are not necessary. There is no measurable UVA or UVB light from computer screens. But, ultraviolet light from the sun can damage your eyes and cause cataracts, pterygiums or cancer. There is a handful of research that can help you make a decision before you make any glasses purchase.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your eyes and eye health, be sure to contact your doctor.
About the author
Sudhir Shenoy, MD, is an ophthalmologist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Clinic – Round Rock 425 University. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Shenoy today.