With so many aspects of our daily life connected to the digital world, it is only natural that people today spend a staggering amount of time in front of screens. While electronic gadgets and devices do literally bring the world at your fingertips – they also have some harmful side effects. Chief amongst these physical effects is the damage caused to your eyes due to overuse. Too much of anything turns out to be a bad thing, especially when we are talking about a body part as sensitive as our eyes. According to a recent Millward Brown study, an average human being in India spend a staggering 6+ hours in front of screens.
While this is lower than the global average which is close to 7 hours, the fact is that a large number of people end up with eye related medical problems ranging from mild eye strain to an eye condition which might require the use of corrective lenses. Conquering a screen-addiction might be difficult for many, and even impossible for some who have to use gadgets in the daily functions of their lives, such as students or those who are working in an IT-related job. Nonetheless, users can take some of the preventive measures mentioned below to preserve the astonishing Natural Lenses that have been provided to them.
Taking Frequent Breaks
A break from that Gaming session or working in front of your Laptop will relieve some of the stress not only from your mind and help your eyes relax too. Plan to take a break after every twenty minutes and indulge in an activity that does not involve you looking at a screen.
If you require a reminder at the end of twenty minutes, set one on your device itself. Or, as for everything else, there are reminder apps like To Do Reminder, Life Reminders etc. which can be used to notify you that its time for your break.
Adjust the Backlight
Most smartphones/tablets allow the users to choose an option to adjust the brightness of their device in relation to the changes in the surrounding light. For those which don’t users can themselves adjust the backlight provided by the device, to a level which is necessary. Very bright or very low backlight could be both bothersome to users and strenuous for the eyes and thus should be monitored.
Keep Appropriate Distance
Eyes feel more strain depending on the distance the device is held at from them. As a general rule, electronic screens should be kept at least 20 inches from your eyes to prevent excess stress. While this might prove difficult in case of Tablet/Smartphone devices, users can use a stand for their devices when watching media or performing other time taking work. It is better to use the device at a more natural focus distance as compared to holding the device near the face – eye muscles tend to work more when they are forced to focus on something that is between the eyes.
The Famous 20-20-20 Rule
The 20-20-20 rule in principle is in fact an extension of the very first point we had mentioned – Users should look away from the device, to relax their eyes. However, the 20-20-20 rule quantifies the required relaxation and prevention steps – Users should take a 20 second break every 20 minutes, and look at an object 20 feet away in order to rest their eyes.
Users can also use the 20 20 20 app from the Play Store to help them follow this rule. However, in our opinion, instead of blindly following this rule users should themselves decide the time to relax for – as far as their eyes receive proper rest, it does not matter that the time taken for resting exceeds the 20 second rule.
Keep Eyes Moist
While working in front of a screen, users tend to not blink as often as they normally do and suffer from a dry-eye condition as a result. One approach to solve this issue is to blink often when using smartphones/tablets. As it is very difficult to actually monitor blinking when engrossed in an interesting activity, users can use eye drops to ensure that their eyes are kept moist.
While the steps mentioned above may help the user to reduce eye-strain, it is essential that the users make a habit of following them. Regular eye check-ups can help users identify any existing problems with their eyes.
The final precaution a user can take is to limit the time he spends in front of a screen. Limiting this time and letting go of technology after a few specific hours will give the user’s eyes the much needed rest they deserve.