If you’re like many people, you’re spending hours every day, either for work or entertainment, staring at digital screens such as computers, smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, eye care experts point out that the excessive screen time may be contributing to increasingly common short-term vision issues and discomfort.
Preventing Symptoms From Digital Screens
Do you ever stare at your work computer or tablet too long and then experience blurry vision when you look away? Many times this happens because the moisture layer at the front of your eye has dried out due to a drop in blink rate, the number of times you blink in a minute.
This is incredibly impactful, since blinking spreads tears evenly over the surface of your eye, keeping it well hydrated. However, research shows that performing tasks that require extended and attentive use of our close vision, such as staring at a digital screen, our blink rate drops from one blink every five to seven seconds, to only once every 15 to 20 seconds.
An easy way to address this, according to our eye care team, is to ensure you give your eyes a rest every 20 to 30 minutes. Make a point of getting up, walking away from the screen, and looking around your surroundings, specifically at objects in your middle to distance vision. This will give your eyes a chance to rest and return to a normal blink rate, so that your eyes can get hydrated again before getting back to work.
This practice can also cut back on other symptoms related to excessive screen time, including headaches and eyestrain.
For more information on how your screen habits may be impacting both your long- and short-term visual health, contact our Norfolk eye doctors at Southern Eyecare Associates.
Can excessive screen time cause long-term eye and vision damage?
Yes. Children and adolescents are specifically at-risk for long-term damage to their vision from excessive screen time. A growing body of evidence suggests that children who spend too much time on electronics have an increased risk of developing advanced myopia in childhood and dangerous eye diseases later in life.
What is the 20-20-20 rule?
The 20-20-20 rule is a popular way to prevent symptoms related to too much screen time, such as dry, gritty-feeling eyes, headaches and eye strain. Every 20 minutes, you should look at something at least 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. This will allow your eyes to rest and reset so that they don’t tire out over the course of the day.