We now know that staring at a digital screen for multiple hours a day is incredibly hard on the eyes. Nearly 95 percent of Americans use devices such as smartphones and laptops for more than two hours per day, and just over 30 percent of all adults use digital devices for at least nine hours a day.
Over time, that ongoing use of electronics will increase the risk of neck pain, shoulder pain, dry eyes, blurred vision, and eye strain. Thankfully, many people are able to reduce their risk of digital eye strain with a few changes to their daily habits. Here is a closer look at what causes eye strain, along with a simple tip to help you preserve your vision and avoid unnecessary strain.
What Causes Eye Strain?
Throughout the day, the average person blinks around 18 times a minute. When you are staring at a digital screen, however, your blink rate drops significantly. That lack of blinking can quickly dry out your eyes and result in a burning sensation. In order to reduce the strain on your eyes, you might begin to lean forward or slump your shoulders, and that can lead to chronic neck pain.
Recent studies are now showing us that the UV light given off by digital displays could be harmful as well. Spending thousands of hours a year in front of a screen will increase your risk of countless health problems ranging from macular degeneration to arthritis of the neck.
Common Signs of Eye Strain
Eye strain affects everyone differently, but most people experience a few similar side effects. At the end of the day, you may notice that it is tough to focus on printed words or small objects. This type of strain can cause discomfort throughout the head, neck, and shoulders as well.
You might also struggle with red or itchy eyes by the time you get into bed at night. Those side effects can be caused by a myriad of issues, and you should immediately schedule an appointment with our office if you have recently noticed any problems with your eyes.
Reducing Eye Strain on Your Own with the 20-20-20 Rule
Over-the-counter eye drops will provide you with some relief, but they should only be used as a temporary solution. If you want to protect your eyes from long-term damage, then it’s time to start making changes to your habits.
Many experts suggest following the 20-20-20 rule if you stare at a screen for two or more hours every day. Every 20 minutes, try to focus on an object that is at least 20 feet away for around 20 seconds. This habit will reduce some of the pressure around your eyes and improve blood flow. You might also consider investing in prescription glasses with blue light blocking filters to limit UV exposure.
Please contact our office today to schedule a checkup if you believe that you may be struggling with digital eye strain, (800) 708-8800.