All of the Zoom meetings or binge watching your favorite Netflix show on your laptop could be causing serious strain to your eyes.
With American adults averaging more than seven hours a day in front of digital devices, ophthalmologist Alan Solinsky, MD, of the Hartford Hospital Eye Surgery Center has this advice to protect your eyes after so much screen time:
- Blink more. Sounds simple, right? But Solinsky says you should remember to blink often if you’re staring at the screen for more than a few minutes at a time.
- Use over-the-counter wetting eye drops (not the anti-reddening ones like Visine) when your eyes get too dry. If those aren’t working, talk to your eye doctor about prescription eye drops.
- Make sure you have the right prescription for your glasses for intermediate distance. Distance glasses or readers won’t work. Invest in a pair of computer or blue light glasses which filter certain light waves and protect your eyes from damage. They can be purchased by prescription or over-the-counter.
- Follow the 20/20/20 rule. That means looking away from your screen every 20 minutes, look 20 feet into the distance and stretch for 20 seconds.
Solinsky says adults don’t risk any permanent eye damage from extended screen time but that it could cause problems for children and older teens whose eyes might still be developing, possibly causing issues with nearsightedness.
“Kids should spend less time in front of screens because their eyes are still growing,” says Solinsky. “There is that philosophy that kids should have that 60 minutes of outdoor recreation time per day to enable their bodies to grow properly. And that goes for their eyes too.”