It’s no secret that the screens of devices like smartphones, laptops, desktop monitors, and tablets, can contribute to eye pain and what’s called “digital eye strain.” In fact, in some extraordinary cases of prolonged screen use, smartphone use has even led to temporary blindness.
First, let’s take a step back and look at what screens as a whole can do to your eyes when stared at for too long. TechInsider reports that:
- 10 percent of users spend three-quarters of their waking hours looking at screens.
- 40 percent of users spending more than five hours a day looking at screens.
- 95 percent of users spend more than two hours a day looking at screens.
Granted, in the office setting, it’s difficult to avoid this situation, as you need a workstation in order to do your job. On a more fundamental level, it’s tempting to just kick back and relax with some television when you get home, which can lead to spending more time in front of a screen than you might prefer.
In particular, you want to avoid looking at your devices at night, and with only one eye. According to two recent cases, doing so could potentially be linked to temporary blindness. The two women involved in the cases, aged at 22 and 40, both experienced temporary blindness in one eye after checking their device, while laying on their side, with the pillow covering one eye, and in the dark. After going through several tests and determining that there was nothing physically wrong with them, the optometrist managed to diagnose the problem.
Professionals believe that the temporary blindness is a result of the other eye catching up and adapting to the dark. In this situation, one eye moved to accommodate the light from the smartphone screen, while the other was still blocked by the pillow. Therefore, once the light from the smartphone goes out, the open eye tries to adapt to its surroundings again and the user is plunged into darkness until the other eye catches up. Some doctors believe that these two cases aren’t quite enough to link one-eyed smartphone use in the dark to temporary blindness, and as a result, they feel that the cases are extraordinary enough to write off as circumstantial.
However, while the temporary blindness may be rare, you should still try to keep your eyes healthy, especially if you’re in front of a screen all day. Continuous absorption of blue light can cause damage to your eyes and produce cataracts, among many other problems. In order to reduce the amount of eye strain you experience, here are a few suggestions for how to conduct yourself while in and out of the office:
Staring at screens can dry out your eyes, so it’s important that you blink to relieve them.
Increase the Size of the Text
If the text you’re reading is small, it’ll cause you to squint and move closer to the screen, which can lead to headaches and eye strain. Increase the size of the text to avoid this.
Use the 20-20-20 Rule
Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look away from the screen and look at something 20 feet away from you. This keeps the muscles in your eyes moving so that they’re not sedentary throughout the workday.
Reduce Blue-Light Exposure
For office workers, this might be difficult. It can be helpful to take small breaks here and there from looking at the screen, or using what are called “computer glass” to block some of the blue light emitted by screens.
Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding the eye strain that comes from constantly using a computer? Let us know in the comments, and subscribe to our blog for more tips.