7 tips to help you and your family avoid eyestrain

10/04/2022 5:29 p.mUpdated 6h ago

Through: Sandrina Rodrigues, Senior Digital Producer

We all spend too much time looking at a screen, whether it’s for work or just spending time on our phones and scrolling through social media.

Symptoms of eye fatigue or eyestrain include dry and itchy eyes, blurred vision, headaches, or increased sensitivity to light.

Here are some tips to help you and your family avoid eye strain:

1. THE 20-20-20 RULE

Aston University researchers confirm that the 20-20-20 rule helps alleviate some of the symptoms of prolonged computer use.

The rule is simple: look 20 feet from your screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

The team used specialized software to track participants’ gaze — and their eye strain — for two weeks, measuring eye symptoms before and after trying the 20-20-20 rule.

2. SET FLASH

As you read, try to position the light behind you and direct it towards your page. According to the Mayo Clinic, keeping the room dimly lit while watching TV can be easier on your eyes.

3. LIMIT SCREEN TIME

Prolonged staring at a screen can cause eyestrain. So it’s a good idea to take a break. This is especially important for children. According to the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality, a Boston-based nonprofit, the effects of prolonged screen time on children can be severe.

4. CUSTOMIZE YOUR SCREEN

Adjust the brightness and contrast of your computer screen so that it feels comfortable to you. It can also be helpful to increase the font size to make it easier to read.

5. USE ARTIFICIAL TEARS

Chronic dry eye is a condition that occurs when tears are unable to adequately moisten the eyes. The oil glands in the eyelids become clogged and inflamed.

Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops work by adding some of the same elements that your tears naturally have. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, this helps your tear film work more effectively to protect the surface of your eyes.

6. AIR QUALITY

A few changes to your space can help prevent dry eyes — including using a humidifier, adjusting the thermostat to reduce air blowouts, and avoiding smoke.

7. DO NOT USE DEVICES BEFORE BED

The American Academy of Ophthalmology also recommends stopping using devices before bed. There is evidence that blue light can affect the body’s circadian rhythm, our natural wake and sleep cycles. During the day, blue light wakes us up and stimulates us. Too much blue light from your phone or other devices late at night can make it difficult to fall asleep. Use night settings on devices and computers that minimize blue light exposure.

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