COVID-19 Eye Safety Update to protect eyes from excessive screen time

With more people working or learning from home due to COVID-19, screen time is on the rise. But prolonged time spent looking at a screen — whether it belongs to a laptop, computer monitor or smartphone — is detrimental to the health of your eyes. It can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as eye fatigue, dry eyes and blurry vision.

As eye experts, the team at Access Eye is concerned about you and your family members developing digital eye strain. We want to encourage you to be proactive about protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of excessive screen time.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Experiencing any of the following symptoms could indicate you are spending too much time staring at a screen:

  • Tired eyes
  • Burning or itching eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Sore neck and back
  • Sensitivity to light

Tips to Protect Yourself

When your job or schoolwork depends on digital communication, you cannot simply shut off your screen. However, you can take steps to protect your eyes from fatigue and other symptoms.

Give your eyes frequent breaks

For every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20-second break to gaze at an object approximately 20 feet away. This is known as the “20-20-20” rule.

Adjust your desk setup

Adjust your seating position and/or screen so you are approximately one arm’s length away. Also, adjust your screen height so you are gazing slightly down at it.

Reduce glare

Glare can lead to or exacerbate digital eye strain. Try a matte screen filter or adjust the lighting near your screen to cut down on glare. You can also play with the brightness and contrast of your screen.

Blink more

Blinking is important to keep the surface of your eyes moisturized. But blink rate naturally decreases by nearly half when looking at a digital screen. When you are working on a computer or using your smartphone, focus on blinking more than you naturally would. If your eyes feel unnaturally dry, use artificial tears to lubricate them.

Switch from contacts to glasses

Contact lenses can worsen existing eye dryness and irritation. You would be wise to switch from contacts to glasses for the time being. (Check out last month’s blog post for additional reasons why glasses are safer during COVID-19.)

From all of us at Access Eye, we hope you and your family stay safe during these unprecedented times. To book your appointment, please call us at (540) 371-2020 or send us a message.