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Screen Time: How much is too much?

August 26, 2021

We are in a unique time of history, almost everyone has a tiny computer in their pocket all day. From work computers, televisions, phones and tablets screen time has become something so normal we sometimes don’t even realize how much exposure we really have. Of course, some exposure is necessary, don’t go telling your boss you can’t work because TriCounty Eye Associates told you not to look at a computer screen! There are, however, things you can control to
make sure you are keeping your eye health in mind.

The Issues:

While we have discussed the negative effects of Blue Light on our blog before but felt it was important to bring up again the effects screen time can have on you and your family.

Digital Eye Strain (DES) is the most common outcome from too much exposure to electronic screens.

Symptoms of DES can include:

  • Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Headache
  • Sore neck, shoulders or back
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open

DES often leads to dry eyes and puts an extra burden on the muscles in your eye that help your eyes focus. While looking at an electronic screen, you actually blink less than normal which causes your eyes to dry out faster. This in turn causes burning and stinging in your eyes.

What you can do:

The easiest solution is to limit the time you and your family spend on electronic devices. Especially younger children, as blue light exposure can cause issues with eyesight development.

A lot of devices these days have screen time timers built in so that it will alert you once you have spent too much time looking at the screen. This can help you to realize just how much time is being spent looking at the blue light.

For more necessary exposure, like looking at a computer screen for work, we recommend:

  • The 20/20/20 rule: For every 20 minutes of usage, look away for 20 seconds and focus on something 20 feet away.
  • Eye drops to help if you have dry eyes
  • Keep your eyes and arms distance away from the screen.
  • Increase the text size on devices to see screen content more easily
  • Use blue light blocking lenses in your glasses

We have a great selection of blue-light-blocking glasses here at TriCounty Eye Associates. If you feel you or your family might be at risk of too much blue light exposure, bring it up at your next eye exam with us. Getting your yearly exam can help our doctor to identify any issues that may arise early, as well as help you to prevent issues later on.

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