With so much technology available to us today, a logical question is what type of effect the constant use of smartphones, laptops, and tablets has upon eye health? There are a number of ways that mobile computing can have a negative impact on your body, and eye strain is just one of them.
Eye strain, or Asthenopia, is a very common condition that occurs when eyes are overused. So much of our time is spent squinting, reading, and staring intently at email, social media or incoming text messages that we neglect to rest our eyes. The result? Eye fatigue, pain, headaches, and weak or impaired vision. While you may think being available 24/7 will increase your productivity, the opposite is actually true. Tired eyes and head pain will only serve to decrease the quality and quantity of work that you can produce.
Preventing eye strain takes some commitment to your eye health. Try putting down your electronic devices for an entire day each week. If a day is too long, then employ the 20-20-20 rule. After each 20 minutes you have focused on a screen of any size, glance up and look at a point at least 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. This gets you to blink more frequently while giving eyes a rest.
Another important method in combating eye strain is to get enough sleep. A solid eight hours of sleep will not only improve your eye health, but your overall health. Adequate sleep gives your eyes a chance to rest and recover, entering the next day with energy and focus, not to mention keeping your immune system strong as well as combating obesity. Turn devices off about an hour before bedtime to let your eyes and brain know that it is time for rest.
Lastly, adjust the brightness and contrast settings on workstations or mobile devices, as staring at a glaringly bright screen can intensify eye strain. If light sources in the area are too bright or are creating glare, make modifications as needed. Anti-glare filters may be a solution if you are unable to alter surrounding light sources.
Eye strain is a serious issue that can compromise your vision and eye health. While technological advances make it easier and more efficient to perform tasks, you should not rob yourself of valuable downtime from devices. Give your eyes a break and they’ll continue to serve you well.