The average American adult will spend an estimated three hours and eight minutes starting at their mobile phone each day in 2016, in addition to the two hours and 11 minutes they'll spend looking at a computer screen. All of this screen time can make your eyes feel dry, irritated or blurred, but there are ways to prevent it. Here are three tips for preventing digital eye strain.
Use a screen filter
The glare on your computer screen or phone screen isn't just annoying; it can contribute to your eye discomfort. To get rid of this glare, use a screen filter. Early screen filters were bulky and needed to clip onto your computer monitor, but modern options are frameless and can be simply pressed onto your screen.
Screen filters are available for touchscreen devices like your phone or your tablet, too, so you don't need to choose between using your device and getting rid of glare.
Take frequent breaks
When you're on your computer or phone, it's easy to get caught up in a fun game and spend hours staring at the screen. Staring at your screen for hours can contribute to your digital eye strain, so to avoid discomfort, remember to take frequent breaks.
Optometrists recommend following the 20-20-20 rule. This rule is simple to follow: every 20 minutes, look at something that's at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Set alarms on your device to remind you to take a break and look around the room every 20 minutes.
Stop using your device in the dark
If playing games on your phone or reading books on your tablet is part of your bedtime routine, your habit may be contributing to your eye strain. In fact, studies have shown that people who watch television in a darkened room experience more eye strain than people who watch in a well-lit room.
To avoid eye strain, avoid using your phone or tablet in the dark. If you have a lamp beside your bed, turn it on while you're using digital devices in bed. If turning on a light isn't possible—which can be the case if you like to stay up later than your sleeping partner—at least turn down the brightness on your device. A too-bright screen is one of the major causes of eye strain.
If using your phone or computer makes your eyes feel dry or irritated, you could be suffering from digital eye strain. Speak with an optometrist about adjusting the prescription on your glasses or obtaining a pair that help to diffuse the bright lights of your screen so you can continue using your phone, tablet, or computer without damaging your sight.