Eyeing Digital Device Safety

By Christina Elston

health - digital device safetyNearly 64 percent of parents spend more than five hours a day looking at digital screens. And if we’d put down our smart phones and tablets long enough, we would notice that our kids are right behind us, with 65 percent connected two hours a day or more.

Those figures are from a recent report by The Vision Council, a vision care industry group. The report, “Eyes Overexposed: The Digital Device Dilemma,” details how this constant exposure to technology is a shock to our eyes, which are designed to view a variety of objects both near and far in natural light, rather than to be focused close-range on a glowing screen.

Overexposure and incorrect device use can lead to dry, irritated eyes, blurred vision and neck and back pain. Here are four things you can do to help protect your kids – and yourself – from digital eye strain:

  1. Keep your distance. Your computer screen should be 20-40 inches (about arm’s length) away from your eyes, and handheld devices should be used as far away from your face as you comfortably can. Enlarge the text if it is too small to read.
  2. Don’t tilt. Screens should be just below eye level, so that your neck is straight and your eyes are at a relaxed position that promotes blinking. Hold your phone up rather than tilting your head down.
  3. Keep the light right. The room lighting should match the brightness of your device. Too much light competes with your device screen, forcing your eyes to work harder. Too little light also adds to eye strain.
  4. Use the 20-20-20 rule. When using a computer or handheld device, take a 20-second break every 20 minutes, and look at something at least 20 feet away.

It’s unlikely we’re all going to unplug and go back to writing letters, reading newspapers and doing our homework at the library, so use these eye-saving tips to make your screen time safer.

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