Just about everything we do now days has something to do with technology. Whether it’s checking your shopping list on your smartphone, playing the latest video game, watching your favorite show, or simply doing your job, you use technology. This can take a toll on our eyes since they weren’t designed to focus on 2-deminsional objects, like computer screens and TVs, for hours on end. Because of this, we can develop eye strain or Computer Vision Syndrome. According to a recent study, people who use computers constantly have a higher risk for developing glaucoma than those who limit their usage. There are a few things you can do to prevent hurting your eyes while using different technology.
Take a break
One of the easiest ways to prevent eye strain is to give your eyes a rest. A general rule of thumb is for every hour you spend looking at the computer, you should take at least 5 minutes to either look at something else in the room or to close your eyes. Giving your eyes a quick break can help reduce your chances of getting eye strain or even an accommodative spasm. Accommodative spasm is when your eyes have focused on something close, like a book or computer, long enough that when you look away you have troubles focusing on further away objects. This can lead to several different issues, such as eyestrain, headaches, troubles concentrating, and poor comprehension when reading. With eye strains, you can get headaches, dry or watery eyes, blurry vision, sore neck or back, shoulder pain, and sensitivity to light.
For both eye strain and accommodative spasm, looking away and trying to focus on something else can help reduce the chances of getting these or reducing the symptoms. Some people even suggest getting up and walking around for a few minutes as well. If you find it difficult to remember to take a break, there are plenty of programs such as EVO. EVO is a simple desktop notification system that runs through your web browser to remind you to take a break from your computer.
Change your settings
Changing your settings on your phone or computer can also help protect your eyes. You should change the brightness on your screen depending on the time of day and the light surrounding you so it is easier on your eyes. This means if you are using your phone outside at the brightest time of day, your screen should also be bright. If you are on your laptop at home with only a few lights on, you want the screen to be darker than it would be if the room was fully lit. A lot of laptops can be set to change the screen brightness automatically depending on the surrounding light. For iPhone users, you can also set the screen to change depending on the light around you. You can do this by going to the brightness and wallpaper settings and turning the Auto-Brightness option on. Our eyes already have a hard time focusing on small objects and that includes images and text on phones and even computers. You can ease the stress on your eyes by making the font a little larger.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Image Source: ExplainingComputers.com
If you work with computers all day, make sure you have your computer in the proper position and that you are sitting correctly. The top of the monitor should be at eye level and be tilted slightly upwards. This will make your eyes look slightly down instead of straight on. Looking slightly down means that more of your eye is covered by your eye lid and it will allow you to unconsciously blink more often. You should also position yourself about 20 inches away from your computer screen, or at arm’s length. With your screen at the proper distance, you should be able to see everything without needing to move your head too much. If you have a laptop, you may want to put it on an adjustable stand so you can put it at the proper height. You should also try to always sit up straight, with your arms and legs at a 90 degree angle. For some people who work in offices that have windows, reducing the glare on your computer screen can also help protect your eyes. You can reduce glare by simply moving it in a place where the window won’t reflect on it, or by buying an anti-glare screen protector.
Protecting your eyes is very important since you use them for just about any and every activity you do on a daily basis. There are plenty of ways that you can take care of your eyes. A couple of ways you can are eating right, living a healthy lifestyle, and getting your annual checkups. Some doctors also encourage patients to eat raw carrots because they contain vitamin A which is helpful for your eyesight. Some researchers even believe that drinking red wine can help protect your eyes along with other things such as your heart.
Remember to take breaks when using technology, whether it’s watching TV, using the computer, or even using your smart phone.
Nicky Elkins is a writer from Pensacola, Florida. She attended the University of West Florida and earned her Graduate degree in Creative Writing. Nicky now uses her gift for writing and her love of all things technology to help others enjoy and understand consumer electronics, social media, and the coolest new gadgets.