How to Manage Screen Time And Avoid Digital Eye Strain!

| September 10, 2017

“Screen Time” is becoming more and more prevalent in our society in each year. Work, school, communication, play, travel, finding recipes for dinner…nearly every area of our lives involves screens in some regard. Not only do we use screens often, we have multiple available to us regularly! We finish up work on our laptops, so that we can play games on our tablets or binge watch television.

Where does this leave our eyes, though? As much as we would love to say “just avoid screens!” it would be nearly impossible, and certainly impractical, in our modern world. So instead of telling you to go “off the grid” to save your eyes, we will let you know the symptoms of screen overuse, and provide you with suggestions for preventing that overuse (or responding appropriately if you notice these symptoms).

When we spend time using screens, several symptoms, of digital eye strain or even more serious issues, can manifest. These symptoms can include:

  • Itchiness or dryness of eyes
  • Redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision

These are just the visual effects! People may also notice postural difficulties (like “text neck” or back soreness) and disruptions in sleeping patterns (from late night use of electronic devices).

So what do we recommend if you are experiencing eye strain from using computers, tablets, or smartphones (or any other devices that may have been invented since we wrote this?)

  • First, we strongly suggest a comprehensive eye exam. The symptoms of Digital Eye Strain could be indicative of a larger visual issue, and if so, this would be the first step in caring for or correcting those issues.
  • If you have prescription lenses for near work, be sure to wear them during your screen time.
  • Take adequate breaks! Don’t spend hours staring at a screen without letting your eyes rest. It is generally recommended that you take a break at least every 20 minutes to look at a point 20 feet in the distance, for no less than 20 seconds.

For children, we caution you to pay close attention to the above recommendations as well as a few others. We understand that completely getting rid of screen time is not a practical choice, but there are reasonable restrictions that we suggest.

Be sure that the screen time being spent is on quality activities: homework, family movie time, interactive games…rather than a child’s allotted time being wasted away with less substantial activities. 

If you have questions, please feel free to call our office 518-374-8001.  We are happy to help!

By Kaitlyn Dittmar, COVT

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Category: Fox Vision Therapy Blog

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