How to Protect Your Eyes If You’re Staring at Screens

student not staring at screen

Being stuck at home means spending a lot of extra time on screens- Which means it’s crucial to protect your eyes.

When you’re binging the latest Netflix series, completing online classes, working from home, checking the news, and scrolling through social media, your eyes are trained on screens throughout huge portions of each day. It’s important to take good care of your eyes during this time—especially since this stay-at-home thing might last longer than we all expected.

When you spend a lot of time looking at your phone or computer, you might notice irritation happening to your eyes. High amounts of screen time can cause blurry vision, dry or itchy eyes, tired eyes, and headaches. Blue light that comes from screens can really mess with your sleep cycle, so limiting screen time at night matters, too.

The biggest problem accompanying screen time for eyes is eye strain, which happens because most of us blink significantly less while looking at screens. This lack of blinking, combined with the fact that you have to focus, can make eyes tired. Basically, be extra cautious to take care of your eyes during this time. Below are a few ways to start to protect your eyes.

Take frequent breaks!

I work remotely and my university is now online for the rest of the semester, so I spend a lot of time working on my laptop. My breaks often involve watching some Netflix or scrolling through Instagram in a healthy balance.

On days where I spend hours working without taking breaks, my eyes feel terrible. To be honest, the other day my eyelid was even twitching a little after I spent all day on the computer. I focus on adding breaks in wherever I can, even if that means declining virtual hangouts invites from family.

Experts recommend a 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds—this is a super easy way to give your eyes a break that doesn’t take a lot of time.

Stepping away from your computer is key to protect your eyes. Get outside for a quick walk, or just head to the kitchen and have a snack—without your phone in hand.

You’ll come back refreshed and with your eyes feeling relieved. Breaks also do wonders for your mental health during social distancing.Adjust your screen brightness to match the environment.

No matter where you’re working, computers tend to be brighter than the surrounding light. Your eyes have to work harder to see and process visuals, so adjust your screens to match your visual environment whenever you can.

On that note, you should also keep your screen about an arm’s length from your eyes—it’s harder for eyes to focus up-close.

Take out your contacts

If you’re like me, you’re guilty of putting your contacts in as soon as you wake up and not taking them out until you’re just about sleeping at night.

When you’re experiencing eye strain from being on screens more frequently, a good strategy is to take your contacts out and give your eyes a break and some fresh air. Switch over to your glasses for a little while and let your eyes rest.

Use eye drops if you need them!

If your eyes are bloodshot and feeling dry, you can use eye drops or artificial tears to help get things back to normal. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends keeping artificial tears on hand by your desk in case you need them. You can also run a humidifier in the room if your eyes are feeling dry.

This post originally appeared on: HerCampus

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