It’s safe to say that most modern Americans are practically addicted to their screens. One survey found that we spend almost half our waking hours on an electronic device of some kind!
Given this time investment, it’s worth considering the fact that our bodies weren’t meant to stare, unblinking, at a digital screen for hours on end. In fact, many of us experience significant eye strain from computers and phones, which can impact our overall quality of life. Headaches, discomfort, and even long-term vision problems can be the result of this intense focus.
What can we do to protect our eyes? If you’re worried about maintaining healthy vision during your screen time, here’s what to know about how to reduce eye strain from computers and phones.
Talk to Your Eye Doctor
First things first: if you’re serious about learning how to protect your eyes, the first person you should reach out to is a trusted eye physician. During your annual trip to the eye doctor, you can provide information about your digital device usage at work and home. From there, your eye doctor can help you understand which habits you should change and whether your digital device usage has impacted your eyes in any way.
Your doctor may want to perform a few visual tests to keep the results on record, allowing them to see if your vision changes in the future. They may also be able to give you personalized recommendations for keeping your eyes from getting too strained.
Reduce Your Digital Device Usage Where Possible
If you want to reduce blue light emission at the source, the best way to do it is by minimizing your use of electronic devices! This, of course, can be easier said than done for most of us. However, even small steps to reduce the amount of time you spend staring at a screen can help.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help you with your digital detox. All you’ll need to do is reconsider your current habits and try forming new ones, like turning your phone or computer off more often.
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
Because most of us must spend at least some amount of time on a digital device for the purposes of work or communication, it can be impossible to cut screens out of our lives completely.
However, at times when you’re spending a long period staring at your phone or computer, it’s important to take frequent breaks.
The best method of doing this is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. This means that every 20 minutes, you spend at least 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away from you. This simple action can help you minimize eye strain by giving your eyes a much-needed rest.
Blink More Often
It might sound like a minor detail, but blinking more often can help you reduce the strain on your eyes.
When we look at our screens, we tend to blink less than we normally would. This is an issue because it causes discomfort, dry eyes, and even headaches or migraines.
As an easy fix, try blinking more often when you take a break as you follow the 20-20-20 rule listed above.
Adjust Your Device’s Settings
Whenever you are staring at your computer or phone screen, it can be helpful to make a few adjustments to your device’s default settings. A few simple tweaks here and there can help you reduce your eye strain without effort in the future!
Adjust the Brightness
The brightness of your display should be about the same as the brightness of your surrounding environment. If your computer or phone screen seems like a beacon of light in the room you’re sitting in, it’s too bright.
Play With the Text
If you’re doing a lot of reading on your computer, make sure that the text you’re looking at is as easy to see as possible. This might mean finding a font that’s easier to read, ramping up the text size, or adjusting the contrast.
Try Dark Mode
Dark mode—meaning a setting in which you read white text on a black background—can be easier on your eyes than your normal reading mode. It can also be useful for people with visual disabilities or eye conditions like photophobia.
For most Windows PCs, you’ll find this option in Settings > Personalization > Colors. Apple users can follow these steps to make Mac dark mode. You can also switch to night mode in the settings of most modern phone apps.
Reduce the Blue Light
Blue light is associated with more eye strain than light of other wavelengths, making it something to avoid if you hope to protect your eyes. It’s also something you’ll need to avoid if you want to have a better night’s sleep!
Depending on the device you’re using, this may be a simple fix: all you’ll need to do is grab an app like f.lux to block blue light on a set schedule. Alternatively, you can purchase special computer glasses that block harmful blue light.
Minimize Your Eye Strain From Computers and Phones
While it’s unreasonable to expect anyone to give up digital devices to protect their sight, it’s nice to know that there are a few easy ways to protect your health as you work and play online. By digging into your settings, taking frequent breaks, and talking to your eye doctor, you can reduce your eye strain little by little. Work on setting new habits today to protect your vision in the long term!
Need more guides to help you safeguard your health? Check out our other tips and tricks for additional insights.