Does screen time actually hurt your eyes?

Screen time hurting eyes promotion glasses on yellow background with laptop, tablet and phone

How much time do you spend looking at a screen each day?

Does screen time actually hurt our eyes? We live in one of the most mobile-centric nations in the world, with Australians spending an average of over 10 hours a day looking at some sort of screen – whether it’s a computer, our phone or the good old TV.

Rapid advances in technology have affected how we teach, how we research, how we mark homework, and even how we socialise. But our eyes haven’t kept up – they still struggle with staring at millions of glowing pixels, bright screens and tiny fonts for extended periods of time, and as a result we can develop a condition called digital eye strain (DES).

DES can set in after just two hours in front of a screen!

You might notice it as tired, red or dry eyes; blurred vision; headaches, or neck and shoulder pain. And it can get worse the longer you spend looking at your screen, which is constantly exposing your eyes to blue light.

Blue light can cause long-term damage to your eyes but there are still steps you can take to protect yourself from DES and make a positive impact on the health of your eyes.

Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Blink often. It’s common to blink less when you’re staring at a screen, so try to be mindful of that and blink regularly.
  2. Take regular breaks. Give your eyes a rest and they’ll pay you back with better health! We like the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break by looking at an object more than 20 feet (approximately seven metres) away.
  3. Adjust the settings on your device. The Night Shift setting will filter blue light for you if you have an iPhone, or download an equivalent app for android.
  4. Wear glasses that have been specifically designed to filter blue light. Some of our favourites are Crizal Prevencia coatings for your existing lenses, or Eyezen lenses, which are designed to rest and protect your eyes from digital screens.

If you think you may be suffering from DES, trying some of these steps can help. And if you’d like some advice on which products to try out, come and chat to our friendly Optical team at the Health Hub in Fortitude Valley. Book an appointment today.