Screens are a fact of life… for life. For better or for worse we are stuck with them, and until through evolution our eyes and brains adapt to our prolonged usage of gadgets, we will have to balance the time we spend on and off it.
Technological innovations have made our lives easier. And this has proven very true during this time of the pandemic, when schools and offices have retreated into our homes. These days almost all our time is spent staring at various screens. Even the time we took out for travelling and social engagement is now spent at our desks in front of a screen.
Understandably, our eyes are the most impacted by excessive screen-time. Continually staring at either our laptops or mobiles causes eye strain, dry eye syndrome, headaches and blurred vision eventually leading to degenerative diseases of the eye.
One of the reasons behind screens being eye damaging is the blue light it emits, which in large amounts, cause eye strain and damage. In addition, we tend to blink less when focused on a screen and this leads to dryness, a common problem that most of us have experienced one time or another.
So how can we protect our eyes?
First off, check your posture while sitting at your desk. Try and sit straight, your feet firmly on the floor, your knees at right angles. Make sure you position your screen so it is at eye-level and your arms are supported and at 90-degree angles as you tap the keyboard.
Next adjust the settings of your device.
Adjust the light, brightness, and other screen settings to suit your preference. Most modern-day mobiles and laptops have settings that allow you to reduce the blue light emitted. You can set preferences in such a way that your screen light changes from a predominantly blue to a predominantly yellow at night.
Take adequate breaks to relax your eyes.
The 20-20 rule
Try and close your eyes for at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes to relieve the impact of over-exposure to screens. Try not to rub your eyes; instead heat the palms of your hands and gently cup your eyes allowing the heat to soothe them. Blinking often will also help in moistening your eyes and refreshing them
Make eye exercises a daily habit. People spending more time on screens should practice eye exercises. Avoid rubbing your eyes; wash them if you feel them getting gritty. It is highly recommended to use anti-glare spectacles while working on laptops. Consult a doctor and check if he/she recommends any eyedrops for persistently dry eyes.
Things to note:
Children below the age of 5 should have minimal screen time. Often harassed parents try and divert their babies’ attention with gadgets. However, their eyes are extremely sensitive at this age; so, try and find other methods to engage them. As they grow older, encourage them to use screen time for educational purposes.
Professionals, students, and those at desk jobs… remember to take frequent breaks. You might want to squeeze in some eye exercises and even some breathing exercises and chair Yoga to take your mind off your computer. Every little step you take towards your health matters. And these build up to leave a lasting impact on you.
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