In our digital age, screens have become an inseparable part of our daily lives, serving various purposes from work to entertainment. Dr Manuel Abreu sheds light on the potential harm prolonged screen time can cause to our eyes and emphasizes the importance of limiting screen time for the sake of optimal eye health.
Understanding Digital Eye Strain:
Dr Abreu highlights that our eyes are not naturally equipped to handle extended periods of screen exposure, leading to a prevalent condition known as digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. This condition manifests through symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, eye strain, and even neck and shoulder pain. Dr Abreu cautions that ignoring these symptoms can lead to more severe eye health issues and discomfort over time.
The Benefits of Limiting Screen Time:
Reduced Risk of Dry Eyes:
Dr Abreu explains that the act of blinking is crucial to moisturize the eyes. However, prolonged screen time often leads to a significant reduction in blink rate, resulting in dry and itchy eyes. By limiting screen time, individuals naturally blink more, keeping their eyes well-lubricated and comfortable.
Less Eye Fatigue:
The constant effort required to focus on screen pixels contributes to eye fatigue. Dr Abreu suggests that reducing screen time provides much-needed respite for the eyes, effectively alleviating eye fatigue.
Minimized Exposure to Blue Light:
While not all blue light is harmful, the high-energy visible (HEV) blue light emitted by screens can potentially damage the eyes over prolonged exposure. Dr Abreu emphasizes that restricting screen time minimizes exposure to this blue light, potentially reducing the risk of eye damage.
Implementing Screen Time Limits for Eye Health:
Dr Abreu provides practical tips for implementing screen time limits:
Optometrists recommend the 20-20-20 rule, where for every 20 minutes of screen time, individuals should take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. This practice helps relax the eye muscles, preventing strain and fatigue.
Cultivate Screen-free Habits:
Substitute screen time with screen-free hobbies, such as reading physical books, gardening, walking, or doing puzzles. These activities offer a healthy break for the eyes.
Turn off Notifications:
To avoid unnecessary screen time, disabling notifications for non-essential apps helps reduce the habit of constant screen-checking, ultimately reducing overall screen use.
Making Screens Friendlier To Your Eyes:
For situations where screen time is unavoidable, Dr Manuel Abreu provides suggestions to minimize the impact on eye health:
Adjust Display Settings:
Ensure screen brightness matches the ambient lighting in the room. Increasing text size and contrast can also reduce strain on the eyes.
Use Blue Light Filters:
Many devices offer blue light filter settings. If not, investing in a standalone blue-light filtering screen protector or glasses can help mitigate potential harm from blue light exposure.
In the face of digital demands, Dr Manuel Abreu advocates for prioritizing eye health by limiting screen time. Despite the challenges of modern life, taking steps to protect and maintain our sight should always be a priority. Our sight is our window to the world, and by handling it with care, we ensure that it continues to serve us well in the digital age.