Computer screen time

We spend a lot of time staring at our screens every day. 

In fact, if you’re reading this blog, you are likely to spend at least two minutes and twelve seconds viewing it on a digital screen.

Whether it’s via your smartphone, tablet device or desktop computer, for work or entertainment, it adds up to a lot of time every day. 

Now, this blog isn’t looking to scare or worry people, but give pause for thought and ask… does too much screen time strain our eyes?

Academic grounds

Studies have shown a link between the amount of time spent staring at screens and the development of dry eye syndrome or its symptoms.

Dry eye syndrome is where the eyes stop producing enough tears, which can cause eye pain and irritation. 

As part of a small study in 2014 involving 96 office workers in Japan, they looked to establish if office screen work was linked to dry eye syndrome. 

While only 9% would meet criteria for dry eye syndrome, more displayed signs and symptoms of dry eyes. 

This particular study established an association between dry eyes and work time spent using a computer screen. 

It is certainly worth taking the time to reduce any potential strain on your eyes. 

What can you do to reduce eye strain?

Eye strain while using devices shouldn’t be a big worry if you take some simple steps during screen time at work and at home. 

First of all, getting regular sight tests is one of the most effective ways to detect problems in your eyes before they further develop. 

You can raise any concerns you have with your optometrist if you feel any particular eye strain while using a digital device. 

To help combat eye strain at work, you should ensure your screen at your workstation should stand eye level, or just below it. 

It is also recommended you look away from your screen every five minutes, taking a few blinks for a few seconds. 

You should also look to give your eyes space when using devices as the closer a phone/computer screen is to your eyes, the harder they must work to focus. 

Studies have suggested that screens shouldn’t be closer than 40cm from your face. 

If you are struggling to read what’s on your screen, you should look to increase the text size instead of moving closer to read it. 

Your screen should stand at eye level, or just below it. It is also advisable to look away from the screen every five minutes for a few seconds and take a few blinks. 

Remember the ’20-20-20 rule’

It is essential to take breaks from using devices to avoid eye strain, to help you should always remember the ’20-20-20 rule’.

With this rule, you will need to look away from your phone/computer screen every 20 minutes and focusing on an object at least 20ft away for at least 20 seconds. 

The rationale behind this rule is that looking at objects at a distance relaxes the muscle that focuses the eye, reducing overall fatigue. 

Ultimately, we hope some of these tips will help you consider ways in which you can reduce eye strain during screen time. 

If you do have any concerns about your eye health or sight levels, always consult an optometrist. 

Are you looking for a sight test in your own home? Visioncall Home Clinic can provide free NHS sight tests at home – check service availability in your area today.