It’s fair to say that we’re now using screens more than ever before. Whether we’re working from home on our laptop, catching up on news over lunch or lying in bed flicking through Facebook, there doesn’t seem to be a place where there isn’t a screen. With so much time focusing our eyes, it may come as no surprise that it has a knock-on effect on our eyesight.

So, how do screens affect your eyes?

Watching screens can make your eyes tired

Watching screens for an extended period can cause eye fatigue, leading to double vision, headaches and concentration difficulties. It can also make your eyes feel dry, causing double vision.

Blue light from screens can damage your retinas

Digital devices release blue light which can reach your retina, which is the inner lining of the back of your eye. Some studies have shown that blue light may increase the risk of macular degeneration. While more research in this area is needed, if there is a link, then the more exposure to blue light, the more we’re risking eye problems.

Children’s eyes tend not to focus on blue light as well. Blue light also inhibits the production of melatonin, the ‘sleepy hormone,’ making it difficult for them to drift off.
Blue light filter glasses are available, learn more about them here.

How to reduce the risk of screens affecting your eyes

Follow the 20 20 20 rule
If you’re wondering, ‘what is the 20 20 20 rule?’, then you’re not alone. Despite it not being widely known yet, the 20 20 20 rule helps to stop your eye muscles from getting overworked.

What is the 20 20 20 rule?
The 20 20 20 rule indicates taking a screen break of at least 20 seconds, every 20 minutes and to look at least 20 feet away. This helps your eyes relax and not get overworked.

Previously, our walk home or commute may have given our eyes a chance to recuperate, but recurrent lockdowns have changed our habits. Now, many of us are following up our day in front of the laptop with time on our phones or tablets, which doesn’t give our eyes the time to recuperate. If possible, practise the 20 20 20 rule where possible and remember that your eyes need time to relax.

Reduce the brightness on your devices or use night mode
The brighter your screen is, the harder your eyes have to work. Keep the brightness to a comfortable level without being too strong. Many devices now come with night mode, which strips out the blue light

Use artificial tears if you have dry eyes
Over-the-counter artificial tears can help relieve dry eyes and may be useful if you’re tired and spending a lot of time in front of a screen. If you opt for brands without preservatives, you can use them as often as you like. If the drops you’re using contain preservatives, limit usage to no more than four times a day.

Choose the right spectacles for you
Wearing spectacles with an inaccurate prescription can give you eye strain, headaches and fatigue. If you suspect your prescription has changed or you are having any kind of problem with your eye, always visit your optometrist – even if you’re not quite due another eye test. Your optometrist will be able to check you’re wearing the right kind of prescription, evaluate your overall eye health and advise on other ways to reduce eye strain.

If you need any further information on the 20 20 20 rule and reducing eye strain or would like to book an eye check with a reputable optometrist, the team here at Dominic Tunnell Opticians would be delighted to help. Please call 01905 613020 to book your eye test.

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