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FAQS About Protecting Your Eyes From Screen Time 

March 1 2024

Did you know that most people today spend nearly 7 hours online each day? That number continues to rise: it’s gone up 1 percent just since 2021. In fact, according to data from Digital Information World, there’s been a 30 percent increase since 2019. While the rise of the internet age has definitely benefited mankind in many ways, there are also some downsides. We’ll leave discussions about the bad side of social media to others. Our focus is instead on something that’s much more in our wheelhouse: eye health. All that screen time can definitely take a toll on your eyes! Staring at screens can cause redness, irritation, and dry eyes. Read on as a Lake Stevens, WA optometrist offers some advice on minimizing the damage.

What Is The 20/20/20 Rule?

If there is a rule of thumb (or perhaps, rule of eye) to follow, this is it. It’s pretty simple! 

Here’s the basic gist:

Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This just lets your eyes adjust and breathe a bit.

You’ll also find variations, such as the 30/30/30 rule, which would be to look at something 30 feet away for 30 seconds every 30 minutes, or the 10/10/10 rule, which is to spend ten seconds looking at something ten feet away every ten minutes. You can mix and match: the key is to just take little breaks and let your eyes refocus regularly.

The hard part, for many, is remembering to do it. If you’re using any kind of focus assist tool, consider adding that as a parameter. You can also use alarms on your phone or smartwatch.

What Is The Best Lighting For Eye Health?

Never underestimate the difference that good lighting can make. While LED lights have become quite commonplace, they aren’t really the best for your eye health. In fact, data from a 2019 French study indicates that the blue light many LEDs give off can be harmful to the human eye.

Your best bet? Natural light, which has a warmer tone. If you work in an office, try to sit near a window: windows can filter out harmful UV rays.

This applies to watching television as well. Use soft background lighting when watching TV. 

Is Glare Bad For My Eyes?

Glare can be a bit of a hidden killer, in that it makes your eyes work extra hard. Taking a few steps to reduce or limit glare can go a long way towards protecting your eyes. Ideally, you’d want to put your lamps or light source at roughly a 90-degree angle from your screen. Try to avoid having the light directly in front of or behind you.

How Do I Set My Desk Up Properly For Eye Health?

Ergonomics doesn’t just come into play with your eyes: it’s also very important for your posture and circulation. However, when it comes to eye health, you’ll want to have the screen about 20 to 30 inches away from your face. A quick test would be to hold your arms out straight and try to touch the screen. If you can’t touch it, it may be too far. If it would end up being much closer than your fingertips, it could be too close. It also shouldn’t be too far above or below your hands if your arms are straight. If you can’t change the height of your screen or monitor, use an adjustable stand. Laptop users may also want to consider an external monitor.

Speaking of monitors, think twice before using two monitors. While there are some advantages to this, such as being able to move from one window to another quickly, this may place additional strain on your eyes.

Is Dark Mode Better For My Eyes?

Dark mode won’t do much good in a really bright room. However, it can help in certain situations, such as when you’re using a GPS system at night.

Here are a few additional tips: 

Keep Eyes Moist

Are your eyes often dry and irritated? Artificial tears may help. However, it’s important to check with your eye doctor first. Using the wrong type of eye drops may not only be ineffective: it could in some cases cause more harm than good.

Eye drops aren’t always the answer here, especially if the air in your home or working area is really dry and/or dusty. A small humidifier may help.

Have Your Eyes Checked By Your Lake Stevens, WA Eye Doctor Regularly

We can’t overstate the importance of regular eye exams. One of the reasons this is so critical is because many eye problems start with few or no symptoms. Without regular exams, these issues may go undiagnosed until symptoms suddenly worsen. At that point, it may be too late to treat the issue effectively.

This is also a huge factor in as protecting your eyes from screen time. Your eyes do change over time. If you’re using a glasses or contacts prescription that is old, you may be inadvertently adding strain to your eyes. (Or, at the very least, not helping them out as much as you could be.)

That said, how often you need to come in may vary, depending on your age and eye health. Ask your Lake Stevens, WA eye doctor to recommend an appointment schedule. 

Take Time Away From Your Screen

We know, it can be hard to unplug in this day and age. However, stepping away from those screens can be beneficial to not just your eyes, but to your physical health in general. It’s also great for your mental well-being! 

Make a habit of giving yourself an ‘unplug’ time every day or week. That includes stepping away from video games and TV time as well. If you enjoy reading, give audiobooks a try instead of always picking up your phone, tablet, or Kindle.

Adjust Your Screen Settings

Personal preference certainly comes into play when choosing parameters for things like brightness, color intensity, and font size. However, in general, you’ll want to stay within the parameters that benefit your eye health the most. You might find a high-definition display is easier on your eyes. Dialing back the blue light may also be beneficial. 

Consider Using Glasses Instead Of Contacts

Glasses and contacts both have their own pros and cons. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing one or the other. However, if you are spending a lot of time online, as so many of us are these days, you may find glasses are a bit easier on your eyes. They’ll let your eyes breathe, which can in turn help keep them healthier and can also prevent or reduce dryness and itching.

Of course, there may be other things that make contacts a better choice for you. For instance, if you like to hit the gym after work, contacts may make more sense. Consider giving your eyes breathers, and wearing glasses once a week or so. This is also something to consult with your Lake Stevens, WA optometrist about.

Conclusion: The amount of time people spend looking at screens has continued to increase in recent years. It’s important to take steps to protect your eyes from the associated strain.

Are you due to have your vision checked? Do you think you need an updated prescription, or perhaps new frames or contacts? Contact us here at Grandview Optometry,  your Lake Stevens, WA eye care center, anytime!

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Grandview Optometry


16616 Twin Lakes Ave
Marysville, WA 98271
(Inside Marysville/Smokey Point Costco)


Monday-Friday: 10:00am-6:30pm
Saturday:  9:30am-5:00pm
Sunday: Closed

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