For many people, both their work and their preferred form of relaxation comes from a computer, television, or a mobile device. Staring at a screen for prolonged periods of time can cause dry, irritated eyes. While dry eyes can be a symptom of another issue, they’re often an indication that you need to change your screen use routine.

How Too Much Screen Time Can Dry Out Your Eyes

Your eyes have a delicate balance when it comes to keeping themselves moist and happy. When you blink, your eyes refresh themselves with a film of tears that helps cover and soothe them. This tear film doesn’t only contain water. It also includes mucus and oil to help that moisture last and offer additional lubrication.

Screen use can upset this balance. When you use a screen, you blink less. This provides fewer opportunities for your eyes to moisturize. The end results are dry eyes and discomfort.

Screen use may change the balance of the tears that wet your eyes. People who use screens often may develop less mucus in their tears. This can leave your eyes feeling dry and scratchy.

Ways to Reduce Dry Eyes Caused by Screen Use

There are steps you can take to reduce dry eyes while you use a screen.

  • Stay hydrated. Moisture that goes into your body as a whole also feeds tear production.
  • Try not to stare. Make an effort to blink more frequently.
  • Use the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes you stare at a screen, you should spend 20 seconds staring at an object at least 20 feet away.
  • Run a humidifier. Indoor air is often dry. A humidifier can help your eyes stay moistened.
  • Enlarge the text on your screen. If you find yourself leaning in to see better, increase the text size on your monitor.
  • Place screens at arm’s length. Keeping your screens at least 20 inches away can help you blink more often.
  • Use eye drops. Artificial tears can help you maintain the proper moisture in your eyes.

Dry Eye Concerns? Valley Eyecare Center Can Help

Dry eyes are often a fact of life in the Arizona desert, especially for people who often use screens. While they often come from computer, television, or phone use, dry eyes can sometimes indicate a more serious issue. Contact Valley Eyecare Center at (602) 955-2700 to make an appointment!