Does Screen Time Make Your Eyes More Sensitive?
How many hours a day do you look at a screen—a phone, tablet, laptop or other digital readout? How is this digital age we live in affecting our eye health? And what can you do about it to protect your vision and relieve the symptoms that result?
The Effects of Screen Time on Our Eyes
If you are looking at screens for hours a day, your eyes may feel more sensitive in general. What you’re feeling is most likely a result of digital eye strain. The reason is we tend to blink less when we spend chunks of time staring at a screen. We also tend to take fewer breaks to look away from our screens when we are working. As a result, you may notice some of the following symptoms:
- Dry eyes – Because we blink less when looking at screens, our eyes are not producing as much moisture. This can make our eyes dry and irritated and even cause blurry vision. Dry eyes can feel very sensitive, and eye drops, when used as directed, can help relieve the discomfort of digital eye strain and dry eyes.
- Eye fatigue – Staring at screens, not blinking, focusing on one spot for longer periods of time, much like reading a book for hours on end, can cause tired eyes. Eyes, like every other part of your body need to rest; otherwise, you can end up with headaches, trouble concentrating and blurry or double vision.
- Problems focusing – When viewing or reading from a digital screen, your eyes need to work harder to focus and see clearly. There are different levels of light, color and contrast that make reading from a screen more strain-inducing than reading from a piece of paper. You often have to deal with a certain level of glare too, from other lights in the room. We focus harder and blink less and this eventually can result in a lack of focus flexibility because we focus so intently at a fixed distance away. Our eyes then lose the ability to adjust quickly to see at different distances and may lead to eye problems that need to be corrected by glasses or contacts. Uncorrected vision problems can increase this focus fatigue and eye strain, so see your eye doctor if you are having any vision problems.
Preventing Digital Eye Strain
While eye drops can help relieve the dryness, irritation and redness that come from eye strain, it is recommended to take frequent breaks to look up, out and away to help prevent eye strain symptoms. Also, you should make sure your screens are positioned at the ideal distance and angle from your eyes and away from light that produces glare on the screen. This will help prevent eye strain, neck strain and back strain. Here are some tips to be more gentle on your eyes:
- Take eye breaks every 20 minutes by looking away from your screen and into the distance (at least 20 feet away) for 20 seconds.
- Keep blinking. Remind yourself to blink frequently to help keep your eyes moist.
- Rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous screen time.
- Use Clear Eyes® Complete Sensitive Eye Drops or lubricating eye drops to help relieve discomfort.
- Increase the text size on your devices to see content more easily.
- Adjust lighting in the room or position yourself and your screen to reduce or eliminate glare. If using a computer, you may be able to add an anti-glare screen.
Blue Light Sensitivity
High-intensity blue light, especially long-term exposure, may be damaging to light-sensitive cells in the retina of your eyes, but studies are not conclusive when it comes to how much blue light digital screens give off. It is thought that most digital devices do not emit enough high-intensity blue light to result in vision loss. Most researchers say excessive exposure to blue light from digital device screens mostly leads to eyestrain and focusing problems.
The important thing is to limit your screen time and, when that’s not possible, to listen to your eyes. Take breaks, blink, look away frequently to help your eyes stay moist and healthy.
When your eyes do feel sensitive and irritated, Clear Eyes® is here for you. Try our Clear Eyes® Complete Sensitive Eye drops. They have no parabens or dyes and are gentle on your eyes. Plus, they provide up to 12 hours of soothing relief of discomfort.
If you have frequent dry eyes or are concerned about any new vision problems, contact your eye doctor.