The ubiquity of digital media and technology has posed a significant threat to our eyes – long hours spent in front of the screens are not healthy for our sight and can easily cause eye strain.
That's why people who have a nine-to-five job that requires working on a computer suffer from eye strain and have tired eyes, often their eyelids are red and sometimes swollen. The same goes for children, teens, or adults who use technological devices for playing games or other entertainment activities.
Is it possible to prevent the effects of the so-called 'screen time' on our eyes? Well, it is not entirely possible, but you can minimize digital eye strain by taking some measures.
Remember, though, that if the troubles get serious, it’s more than advisable to contact a doctor of optometry.
Below, we present six steps to keep your eyes healthy from digital eye strain.
If you are prone to the screen's influence on your eyes, a good idea would be to use special protective glasses.
Every device such as a computer or a smartphone emits what is known as blue light. It is dangerous for both eyes and the brain. The blue light is artificial, not natural; that's why it is extremely tiring for the eyes.
What's more, the blue light affects the brain and keeps it alert and awake – as it sends a signal 'it's time to be active' to the brain cells. This may lead to insomnia and problems with sleep.
That's why glasses that protect you from blue light are a great idea. They are a kind of filter that changes the colors that you see. It's advisable to wear them wherever you need to work long hours, especially in the evening.
Proper hydration is important not only for your general health but also for the eyes, as it prevents eye strain.
Prolonged screen time may make eyes dry and irritated. These effects can be even more unpleasant for people who wear contact lenses.
To avoid these symptoms, you should keep your eyes moisturized using special eye drops to maintain the proper hydration of your eyes. They should be applied regularly – once or twice a day – otherwise, the effect won't be that noticeable.
You can read more about eye drops and their properties here.
A balanced and healthy diet can also contribute to the condition of your eyes. To keep them healthy, you should eat products that contain omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and vitamin A.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found, for instance, in fish like tuna, salmon, or mackerel.
Leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, or collard greens, are rich in lutein.
Finally, eggs and carrots have a lot of vitamin A which improves eye condition and prevents blindness.
The aforementioned blue light can be filtered not only by wearing special protective glasses but also by switching the mode on your devices to night mode.
Night mode is usually darker, and it automatically controls the amount of blue light emitted by the screen.
You can also download a special app to your smartphone or desktop. Some examples of these apps are available here.
It is probably easier said than done, but controlling (and limiting, if necessary) the time spent with screens can contribute to your eye health.
You might set the limits of the screen time and keep within it, but if you know, you will forget it, set up an app on your phone that will sound an alarm when the set amount of time has passed.
Moreover, it's vital to take regular breaks during the working day and, for example, go for a walk, or simply close your eyes for a few minutes. Ideally, when using an electronic device, you should take five or ten-minute breaks every two hours.
You can read more about work hygiene in this article.
The majority of work and entertainment indeed takes place online now, but what if some parts of it were done offline?
There are some ways in which you can limit screen time. If your work requires writing, for example, try to do some parts of it on paper. If you enjoy playing games, exchange your online apps for a board game just once.
Use your devices only when it's necessary and reasonable.
The modern world of technology can be a real threat to our eyes, but if we stick to some basic rules, it's easy to keep our eyes healthy and protected.
Simply choose a form suitable to your needs - whether it is limiting or controlling the screen time, doing tasks offline, taking supplements, or generally having a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Following healthy habits will always be beneficial, not only for the eyes but also for your general well-being.
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