On Screen: How to keep your peepers perky

Desktop. Phone. Tablet. You’re reading this on a screen of some sort.

So how are your eyes holding up?

The average American worker spends more than 10 hours a day in front of a screen. But as screen time increases, so do eye strain and fatigue, thanks in part to the blue light emitted from screens and its lower contrast than printed text.

“Increased usage of digital devices in both our personal and professional lives can cause our eyes to work harder, which translates to the dry, strained eyes we see in many of our patients,” said Dr. Artis Beatty, chief medical officer at MyEyeDr.

“We want to educate patients so they are aware of the steps they can take to alleviate the short-term issues and long-term risks associated with digital device usage.”

In honor of Workplace Eye Wellness Month, here’s how to keep your peepers perky:

Wear your glasses! If you have prescribed vision correction, it’s important to wear your prescription and follow the recommendations of your optometrist. Consider lenses that moderate the effects of glare and increase contrast, to reduce the impact of looking at screens for long periods of time. Consider a pair of computer glasses to leave at work, too.

Arrange your desk with your eyes in mind. Increase the text size on your digital devices and adjust the contrast to make content more readable. Position your computer display so that the top of the screen is at or slightly below eye level, to decrease tension in your neck and back, and make sure it is at least an arm’s length away. If you find yourself tipping your head back to read the screen, computer glasses might be for you.

Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. This refocuses eyes and allows blinking to return to a normal rate.

Schedule an annual eye exam. Studies show that continued exposure to blue light over time could lead to damaged retinal cells, which in turn can cause vision problems like age-related macular degeneration. Visit your optometrist for an exam to detect any vision issues early and ensure digital device usage doesn’t impact your work performance.

Think safety, too: Even if you don’t use digital devices daily, other job activities could pose risks to your eyes, such as exposure to dust particles, bits of metal and glass, chemicals, or flying objects. Wear eye protection, whether glasses with side protection, goggles, or special lenses. Also, vision corrective lenses can be made into safety goggles.

This information is courtesy of MyEyeDr., which has locations across Western Wake.

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