BELLEVUE, Wis. (WFRV) – With more Americans having to stay home, the use of smartphones and digital devices have skyrocketed in many households.
But too much screen time can have a negative effect on one’s body- more notably, their eyes. That’s why eye doctors with Shopko Optical are reminding the public that too much screen time can lead to eye strain.
Eye strain is anything that causes visual discomfort where your eyes are uncomfortable. A variety of contributing factors can cause this, including eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, intense near work and being on a digital device. Optometrists recommend having a regular eye exam with your eye doctor every year. It is also recommended to reduce your screen time and reduce your near time if you’re experiencing tearing.
“At the end of the day, you don’t want to use your devices within two hours before bedtime,” says Dr. Thomas Bobka, Director of Optometry Services for Shopko Optical. “During the day, it’s good to have a family regulation plan for who’s on and who’s off or what you’re doing during the day. But the big answer to this is to get off your device as much as you can during the day.”
There’s a golden rule in the vision world about reducing eye strain and it’s called “The 20-20-20 Rule.” It means for every 20 minutes that you’re doing near work, you should look 20-feet away for 20 seconds. Doing so will help alleviate pain and change your focus.
According to Dr. Bobka, one of the more common methods of alleviating eye strain is to have the correct prescription glasses. New technology like blue-blocking lenses has also been popular to help block potential, harmful blue-violet light from digital devices.
“Blue violet light comes from everywhere, especially the sun- that’s where most of it is,” said Dr. Bobka. “That’s why we wear UV blocking sunglasses outside, so why not wear a blue blocking lense when you’re on your device that also emits blue violet light. Those are a great way to remove eye strain.”
Another helpful tip for limiting screen time- smartphones now have a setting where you can track the amount of time you spend on your devices. Just a few swipes and clicks away and you’re off to a healthier lifestyle.