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Ophthalmology

Tips to Prevent Eye Strain due to Excessive Screen Time

by Dr Shibal Bhartiya MS on Jun 30, 2020

Excessive screen time can lead to eye strain and dry eyes. Some people may also get headaches and soreness of the eyes. Here are some tips to minimize eye strain when using computers.

Take frequent breaks

 ProtectYourVision (Chrome, Firefox, Safari app), Awareness (Mac, Windows) and eye Care (Chrome app)set off an alarm after twenty minutes of computer use. You can decide on the duration of the enforced breaks, and also change the duration at which the alarm goes off.Time Out (Mac) has a fixed break of 10 minutes, after each 50 minutes of working.  It also has prompts micro-breaks of 10 seconds, after 10 minutes of screen time. 

20-20-20 Rule

After each 20 minutes of computer use or screen time, look away from your monitor. Close your eyes for 20 seconds.Open them to look at an object, at least 20 feet away. This is called the 20-20-20 rule, and helps your eyes relax.

Optimize your monitor settings.

Reduce the brightness on your screen devices to reduce glare. Make sure your ambient lighting is proper, and that you are sitting upright in a comfortable chair.

Make sure the computer screen is at least 40 cms away. Moreover, the center of the screen should be about 10–15 degrees below eye level.

Colour of screen

Blue light from screens can result in sleep disturbances. Therefore, make sure you adjust the screen colours, especially during the night time. Also, there are apps like Flux and Twilight which automatically adjust your screen colours to time of day. Warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

Blink more often

Blinking distributes the tears over the eyes, keeping them lubricated. When we are focusing, especially on screens, our blinking is reduced. Therefore, the tear film is not distributed over the eyes sufficiently. This results in dryness, as well as tired, gritty and sore eyes.

Avoid prolonged reading hours on the phone

Reading on the phone increases eye strain and fatigue. An e-reader like the Kindle is better.

Always wear your prescription glasses

Make sure you wear your prescribed spectacles when using your computer or watching TV. Make sure you get your eyes checked every year.  

Visit your doctor

You may use preservative-free lubricating eye drops that are available over the counter in most pharmacies. In case your symptoms persist, or worsen despite these measures, make sure you visit your eye doctor for a check-up.

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