According to one poll, the average adult will spend 34 years staring at their screens. A questionnaire taken by 2,000 people found that they spend more than 4,866 hours a year on electronic devices. About three-and-a-half hours were spent on the television, four hours were spent on laptops and two hours were spent on mobile phones.
Most people are surprised to learn how much time they spend looking at screens. Not only is this screen time bad for your physical health but also for your vision. Eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision are just some of the ways that your eyes are affected.
Fortunately, you can go easy on your eyes while still getting your work done and enjoying your favorite TV shows. It’s all in the screen breaks you take! Let’s learn more about the importance of screen breaks and some best practices to follow.
Why Screen Breaks are Important for Eye Health
Staring at a screen for long stretches of time without a break can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms such as:
- Eye fatigue. Muscles around the eyes get tired from continued use just as other muscles do. Concentrating on a screen for an extended period of time can cause headaches and trouble with concentration.
- Blurry vision. Gazing at the same distance for a long time can cause the eye’s focusing system to get temporarily “stuck.” It’s also possible that staring at screens without a break can raise the risk for myopia.
- Dry eyes. People blink far less when they’re staring at a screen. This causes the eyes to become dry and irritated, worsening the symptoms of dry eye.
Best Practices for Taking Care of Your Eyes
To reduce your risk for vision problems, take frequent screen breaks during the day. During your breaks, get up, move around, stretch and blink often. This will help prevent the symptoms of eye fatigue and discomfort while allowing you to get your work done.
Here are the best practices to follow:
- Use proper lighting. Eliminate exterior lighting, reduce interior lighting and turn down ambient lighting. Eye strain is often caused by bright lights coming from the inside or outside.
- Minimize glare. Another thing you can do is minimize glare by choosing an anti-glare screen and wearing glasses with an anti-reflective coating.
- Upgrade your display. Flat-panel LED screens with an anti-reflective surface are ideal. Purchase a new display if yours is old. You can also adjust the brightness, color temperature and text size on your display.
- Take frequent breaks. Take frequent breaks during the day to reduce tension and fatigue. This is good for your muscles and your eyesight. Check out some simple eye exercises you can do from home.
- Exercise your eyes. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object for at least 20 minutes. Looking away allows the eyes to relax.
Screen breaks are something everybody needs! Make sure you’re taking care of your health and eyesight by taking screen breaks throughout the day. And don’t forget to schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist who will make sure your eyes are safe and healthy.