March 12, 2019
From the moment you open your eyes, you rely on your vision 24/7, but how much time do you spend thinking about caring for your eyes? Between staring at screens for work and for fun, sometimes at multiple screens at once, our eyes are working harder than ever.
The average American spends seven hours a day looking at screens. Digital devices emit a high energy, short wavelength, blue and violet light known as blue light. Overexposure to blue light can negatively impact a person’s eye health and cause digital strain. With the average American looking at screens for seven to eight hours a day, there is a high probability that digital strain will occur. Digital strain is more than just “bad for your eyes”, it has also been linked to neck and shoulder pain and misalignment's, sleep disorders, and headaches.
How to Prevent Digital Eye Strain
Routine Eye Exams:
For most people, not much time is dedicated to preventative eye care. Just like routine dental visits, regular eye exams are an important to your overall health but only 20% of Americans schedule them annually. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), over 142 million Americans over the age of 40 experience vision problems and the majority of them can be treated with routine care. During your eye exam, your optometrist will be able to diagnosis whether digital strain is damaging your vision.
Implement The 20/20/20 Rule:
A practical rule to prevent digital strain is applying the 20/20/20 rule when looking at a screen for extended amounts of time. For every 20 minutes of staring at a screen, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.
Eliminate screens one hour before bed:
You need to give your eyes a longer break plus screen time can sabotage a good night’s sleep. The blue light from a screen can throw off your circadian rhythms which interferes with your body’s availability to sleep.