Admittedly in the summer months, I see less screen fatigue (digital eye strain) than in the winter months. This is most likely due to people being out and about enjoying the glorious British summer rather than stuck inside feeling miserable looking at their iPad. More than ever before, we’re finding ourselves glued to several screens per day, the work computer, the smartphone, the iPad, and the television. This adds up to a lot of us spending a lot of our day in front of some screen. I blame Candy Crush and Instagram.
Increased screen time can cause some people to suffer from screen fatigue but without really realising it. So how do you recognise the signs of screen fatigue and what can you do about it?
How can you reduce Screen Fatigue?
Read on and make a few simple changes to help your eye health today.
Eye fatigue, or to give it its proper term asthenopia, is prevalent in our increasingly digital society. Focusing on screens (especially smaller screens such as mobile phones), can result in your eye muscles straining as they try to focus. It’s thought that 80% of millennials experience digital eye fatigue. Eye fatigue can leave eyes feeling dry. You may well experience more headaches/migraines caused by the eye-straining, and some can also notice blurred vision.
If you use a computer regularly, you must take regular breaks from the screen to give your eyes a rest. Now we’re not talking long breaks but generally speaking, there is a rule that is pretty easy to remember and simple to follow – the 20/20/20 rule.
Every 20 minutes take a break from your screen for 20 seconds and focus on something 20 feet away.
If you are a spectacle or contact lens wearer, there are lens coatings and contact lens designs available to minimise digital fatigue. This is one of the largest sectors of research in the optical market as, the reality is, we will become even more dependent on screens in time.
Also try to remember to blink as this helps to moisten the eyes, spreading the tear layer across the cornea. But why remember to blink? When we look at a screen and concentrate generally, we reduce the number of times we blink. This can dry your eyes out and leave them feeling irritated. Some estimates suggest blink rate reduces from one blink every 3-4 seconds to one blink every 25 seconds…! Ouch. Ocular lubrication is important.
Also, remember to have regular eye checks. If you spend a lot of your day in front of a computer as required by your place of employment, they may well help contribute to the cost of an eye test. However, please check with your employer to ensure this is the case.
So look away from the screen now and start a new healthy eye care habit today.