LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — These days, we’re on our screens more than ever – whether it’s working from home or endless scrolling on our smartphones. That means your eyes might be asking you for a break!
“One of the primary complaints patients have is related to eye pain or strain from increased screen time,” explained Dr. Danielle Richardson, an optometrist in Los Angeles.
“When we spend long hours in front of the screen, not only are we more likely to experience eye pain and eye strain, but our eyes are also drier,” said Dr. Richardson.
The problem: screens force our eyes to focus more, which works our eye muscles. Also, staring at screens seems to make us forget to blink as often.
“The muscles in our eyes themselves can become fatigued, leading to eye pain, eye strain, discomfort… and even blurry vision,” said Dr. Richardson.
The solution? Take a break!
“Every 20 minutes you’re staring at a screen, take a pause for 20 seconds and look 20 feet away,” said Dr. Rahul Khurana, an eye surgeon and spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
“What that kind of mini-break does is allow your eyes to recalibrate; you blink, you kind of fix the natural tear film and it helps relieve those symptoms,” explained Dr. Khurana.
He says a drop of artificial tears might also help.
Blue light glasses have also become very popular during the pandemic, but their effectiveness isn’t necessarily proven. I wore pairs from brands including Pixel and ANRRI and didn’t notice a discernible difference in my eye comfort, but I did think I looked cool with them on.
“The American Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend blue-blocking glasses, because there’s no evidence that they make a difference or that blue light is harmful,” said Dr. Khurana.
One thing blue light can do is disrupt sleep – so if you’re working into the wee hours of the night, you might want to check the screen settings on your device.
On an Apple iPhone or Mac computer, look for Night Shift.
On Samsung, check the settings for Blue Light Filter or Eye Comfort.
On Windows PCs, look in settings for Night Light.
“The data has not shown that blue light causes any harmful damage and the data where it has shown it’s usually at very high doses and under certain situations, and not from the amount of light that comes from a screen,” concluded Dr. Khurana.