Your Eyes in the Digital Age

Remember when we used to hear, “Quit sitting so close to the TV?” While we may have gotten better about putting some distance between our eyes and the television set, we’ve collectively started holding other screens right up to our noses, in a sense. Whether it’s computers, tablets, or smartphones, we spend a lot of time interfacing with a screen each day. It’s not just adults who work in an environment that requires it anymore, either. Many children love the entertainment possibilities offered through these digital screens. As such, people of all ages are spending hours each day with backlit screens right in front of their eyes.

kids with laptop

How do we protect our eyes?

There are a few measures we can take to make the experience of using a backlit screen less strenuous on our eyes.

  1. Never place a screen directly in front of a window. We don’t want our eyes straining to work with both the light coming from outside and the light coming from the screen.
  2. Draw the blinds on any other windows that pour light onto the screen. If there’s a window on another wall that provides glare on the screen, or just fills the room with light, we want to tone it down a bit, so that the light sources aren’t competing too closely.
  3. Turn off any light sources that are above the screen. If there’s a ceiling light or a lamp that is placed high up to provide light for the room or desk, switch it off when using the screen. This just provides more opportunities for glare, which really contributes to eye strain.
  4. Position the screen so that it is below eye level. This way, when we look at the screen, more of the surface of our eyeball is covered by the eyelid. Our eyes won’t feel dry as quickly this way.
  5. BLINK! Seriously, a lot of us forget to blink when looking at something on a screen.

boy at computer

What if our eyes FEEL tired?

Sometimes, no matter how many preventative measures we take, the time using a screen is just so long that our eyes will feel tired regardless. So what do we do then? Do we just throw away our phones, quit or jobs, and start writing handwritten letters to everyone?

Amish family

Not quite.

Fortunately there are things we can do to help our tired eyes. Ever heard of the 20/20/20 rule?

20/20/20 rule:

  • After 20 minutes of looking at a screen…
  • Look at something 20 feet away…
  • For 20 seconds.

Simple, right? Give it a try and see if it helps you prevent eye strain! Stay tuned for more tips and exercises for keeping one of the most vital parts of our bodies healthy!


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