PROTECTING YOUR EYES FROM DIGITAL SCREENS
Do your eyes burn and water just as you are putting those finishing touches to a long report? Does the texting marathon with your bestie leave your eyes stinging for hours? Digital Screens are often cast in starring roles as the villains in our life! It is the way we use the screen and not the screen itself that is responsible for the struggles we have with our eyes after using a computer or mobile phone for a longer period of time.
The physical harm due to sitting still and lack of other activities, and the damage due to the wrong posture is a whole different set of discussions. So here I’ll limit it to eye-related information.
How then do we protect our precious eyes from the computer screen? It’s no fun struggling to be productive at the end of a long day while your eyes feel like they’ve been set on fire!
Eye protection tips?
These guidelines are valid for all kinds of screens and all kinds of users as well. Let's break this down then:
- Remind yourself every 20 minutes “Hey, I’m a human being with human eyes”. Our eye muscles strain to focus on fine objects beyond 20 continuous minutes. Allow your focus to relax away from the screen, and look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more. This is the 20-20-20 rule. Get a cute kitchen timer, set an alarm on your phone or set pop-ups on your screen as reminders.
- We don’t blink enough when we concentrate on a target. This is a remnant of our animal instincts, but since we are neither hunters nor prey. This automatic reduction in blinking rate works against us when we look at a screen. So have a reminder somewhere in your field of vision- I have a winking smiley face on the edge of my PC screen!
- Make sure the top of your screen is at eye level. Looking upwards means the eye is open wider, giving tears more surface area from which to evaporate, causing more dryness.
- Keep your screen brightness at the same level as the room lighting. A dim screen belongs in a dimly lit room. Many devices now offer an auto or adaptive brightness setting option which you can enable.
- Be aware of other light sources in the surrounding, like windows, and artificial lighting and check to see if they are creating glare either on your screen or into your eyes. This is easily checked while your screen is not on yet.
- Check if any air conditioning or heating vent is towards your face. This accelerates the rate of evaporation and it's important we change the direction of these vents.
- If you have eye power please wear your glasses to reduce eye strain.
- One can also wear eye protection glasses for laptops and screens.
Persistent dryness and irritation, despite all these measures, can or show the need for lubricating eye drops. So do visit your local Eye Specialist for a thorough check-up!