A focus on screen health in 2020
Jan 03, 2020 in Eye Care
How long do you spend looking at a screen each day?
A technology led world
Our modern world is dominated by technology and largely driven by screens. Prolonged use can lead to tired eyes, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, light sensitivity, poor night vision and irritated eyes - so it’s worth considering the things you can do to limit these symptoms.
It is reported that 90% of the UK population regularly uses electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablets, laptops and gaming consoles. Of course many are using a combination of these all at the same time. Prolonged focusing on close up devices and constant switching from one to another can be fatiguing, and we may find that we can't maintain focus for longer periods of time.
When we look at something close up, our eye muscles have to converge in towards one another and that can be tiring as well. Additionally, the font on mobile phones and tablets is often very small, and we tend to hold these devices much, much closer.
Most users are frequently viewing something 20 to 30 centimetres away, rather than 50 to 60 centimetres which is more typical for people reading a book or newspaper. There is no question that the amount of stress and strain that's put on the visual system is increased with electronic devices.
The 18.104.22.168. Rule
When we're focusing for longer than 20 or 30 minutes on a particularly close item, we can find it hard to maintain the focus. You can liken it holding something really heavy for a long period of time. Imagine you were carrying around heavy shopping all day long, your arm muscles would get tired. If you put the bags down and have a little shake out and then pick them back up again, you'll be able to cope better and carry on. It's the same for our eyes - and that's where the 22.214.171.124. Rule comes in.
Look 20 feet away, every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds and then blink 20 times – this rehydrates and re-lubricates the eye. Giving yourself visual breaks is a great habit to build into your day and you will quickly notice the benefits.
What you can do
Walking around the office or getting up from your desk at home regularly is a good idea too. A great tip is to hang a clock on a distant wall and look at this rather than your wrist when checking the time. It forces you to look far away and interestingly, when we move our focal length, we automatically blink which is great for our eyes.
Finally, if you've been spending most of the day on a computer screen the tension in your eyes can be quite high and you can’t expect your eyes to ping back instantly to distance vision. It can take 20 or 30 minutes at the end of the day for the eye muscles to relax, and to be properly prepared for the drive home. Actually taking a little bit of time before jumping in the car can be really helpful and improve safety.
What we can do
Our expert optometrists will be able to discuss your screen habits and the condition of your eyes, advising on how best to look after your vision and what you can do to optimise your eye health.