Unless you printed this article out and are reading it on paper (to each their own!), you’re probably reading it on a screen right now. And even if you weren’t reading this post, odds are still good that your eyes would be fixed on a screen anyway.
In fact, a recent article from Scientific American suggests that American adults spend an average of roughly 9.5 hours every day in front of a variety of screens, including “smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions.”
And get this: Research also indicates that the majority of people actually tend to use two (or more) screen devices at the same time. That may mean scrolling through social media on a smartphone while the TV is on in the background, or checking personal email on a phone while handling work email on a laptop.
Bottom line? We’re looking at our screens a lot. And all of that reading, watching, and staring at technology could be having a major effect on our eyes.
“I Work at a Computer All Day”
In the end, a lot of these facts about screen use shouldn’t be too surprising. Computers, phones, and TVs are all a huge, and often inescapable, part of most people’s daily lives. And that’s especially true for a big segment of the workforce.
In today’s world, many of us have jobs that require us to be in front of a computer screen for hours at a time. From data analysts to social media managers, from freelance designers to CEOs, a lot of “work” these days requires gazing at a screen. And that could be taking a major toll on our eyes!
In fact, one study from the American Academy of Optometry found that “working for just two hours on a laptop caused a significant increase in eye pain and vision problems.” If that’s true, imagine the effect tech screens may be having on people who spend eight hours at work on the computer — and then go home to unwind with a TV show, a smartphone game, or an ebook.
According to the All About Eyes blog, “at least 50 percent of those who work in front of a computer report eye issues, but the number may be closer to 90 percent.”
Here are some signs that technology might be having an effect on your eyes:
- Blurry vision
- Eye strain
- Dry or itchy eyes
- Double vision
Curious what goes into a comprehensive eye exam? Check out this infographic from the summer edition of our newsletter, The Swell, for details, fun facts, and more:
“What Can I Do to Protect My Eyes?”
Nobody wants to experience symptoms like these. They’re anything but enjoyable, and your work could suffer as a result of all of this discomfort.
So, whether you’re an architect or an executive assistant, when you work at a computer all day, it’s important to be good to your eyes! Here are a few easy ways to help protect your eyes when you’re working at a laptop or desktop:
1.) Keep an Arm’s Length Away
Sitting or standing too close to your screen can cause eye strain over time. Experts recommend testing with the “high five” test: Your screen should be far enough away that you could give it a high five with your arm fully extended. Experts also recommend keeping your screen flat (no tilt!), and slightly below eye level.
2.) Minimize Glare
Glare is caused when light reflects off of a surface an onto your computer screen. The source may be bright light pouring through a skylight or light bouncing off of a mirror. The more glare you’re dealing with, the harder your eyes may have to work to decipher what’s on your screen. When working, try to make sure that your computer screen is clean and dust free and out of direct light. There are also glare filters you can purchase and use to cover your monitor.
3.) Adjust Your Settings
There are all sorts of ways you can adjust your screen to help your eyes. For one thing, you can adjust the “temperature” of your monitor’s light. Generally, using warmer light is better for the eyes than cooler light, such as bright white and blue. You can also increase the font size you’re using, and adjust the brightness of the screen to work with your surroundings.
4.) Take Frequent Breaks
One of the most important things you can do to help your eyes is to give them a break. Don’t hesitate to get up and walk away from your computer at regular intervals or allow yourself to close your eyes for a few beats to give them a rest. Experts also recommend exercising your eyes with the “20-20-20” rule: Every 20 minutes, focus on something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This can help prevent your eyes from “locking up,” which causes eye strain and fatigue.
5.) Remember to Blink
Did you know that when people work at computers, we tend to blink less frequently? On average, we may blink about one-third as often when working at a computer as we normally do. This can lead to dry, itchy, uncomfortable eyes. So, when you’re working with a screen, remember to blink! You may also want to consult with a health professional about artificial tears.
6.) Look Into Computer Glasses
If you wear contact lenses or traditional glasses, your eyes may be even more susceptible to strain and discomfort when working at a computer for long periods of time. There are glasses specifically designed for computer use, which may help cut down on eye strain.
Seeing All of Your Options Clearly
And now, the Enrollment Specialists would love to hear from you! Do you take any steps to protect your vision at work? Are there any eye exercises you’d recommend? What do you do to break up your screen routine? Be sure to let us know by joining our community over on Facebook!
And if you’re looking for someone to help you see all of your health and life insurance options with crystal clear vision, the Enrollment Specialists can help!
Led by our founder and principal consultant Matt Peebles, we’re here to help you find the right plan for your unique needs. Whether you’re looking into group health, Medicare supplements, or accident and critical illness coverage, with Matt, you’ll always be able to say, “I Got A Guy!” Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!