Protecting Your Eyes From Increased Screen Time

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Digital screens are part of our everyday lives. Between phones, tablets, and computers, the average American spends almost four hours a day looking at a digital screen. And that’s not counting TV time. It’s no wonder research shows an increase in vision problems and complaints of digital eye strain. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to protect your vision, even when you’re stuck in front of a screen.


Blue light from screens is the most concerning source

The amount of blue light we are exposed to from digital screens is only a fraction of what we get from the sun. However, the time we are exposed to digital blue light is significant. A recent survey shows the average American will spend about half of their waking hours in front of a screen. Digital screens also affect our natural eye behaviors. Normally, we blink 10-15 times per minute. But when looking at a screen, we blink less than half that amount. It’s no surprise, then, that 40-60 percent of people experience symptoms of digital eye strain. It can affect your productivity and how you feel every day. While taking a break from screens during your workday can help the symptoms go away, for some people, they last even after the screens turn off.


Digital eye strain symptoms

A few symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • Tired eyes
  • Headaches
  • Scratchy or burning sensation in eyes
  • Redness or dryness
  • Blurred vision


Protecting your eyes through daily habits

There are a few things you can do to protect your eyes from the negative effects of blue light. For every 20 minutes of screen time, take a short, 20-second break. Set the brightness of your screen to match the brightness of your room. If you wear glasses, get an anti-glare coat on your lenses.


Protecting your eyes through diet

Consider a lutein source in your diet for on-going blue-light protection. Lutein is the substance that adds rich color to certain foods, like the marigold flower. It provides natural blue light filtering, building a protective barrier for a vulnerable part of the eye. We are born with lutein, but our bodies don't produce it. So, it’s important to make sure you obtain it through diet or supplement.