How to protect your eyes when using gadgets?

23. August 2017

Let’s face it, we are increasingly dependent on gadgets of all sorts. But how do computers, smart phones and tablets affect our eyes – and how can we protect them better?

It is common to kick off the day by reading emails in bed before heading off to work for eight hours sitting in front of a computer screen. Even the evenings are spent in front of gadgets big and small. Before bedtime we often read books, with e-books now replacing the traditional paper versions. In other words, using and watching screens has become increasingly dominant in our everyday lives.

But are these screens safe? Many eye doctors claim that electronic gadgets emit blue light, which can be dangerous not only for the eyes but for the entire body, according to The Huffington Post.

The importance of blinking

Excessive time spent in front of screens can affect eyes in two ways. The most typical is the eyes becoming dry as a result of us forgetting to blink frequently while watching a screen, which significantly reduces the moisture in our eyes. Once the eyes are too dry, they are also prone to some complications. Eyesight can become blurry after hours spent in front of a computer and some people may get headaches. The signs are often hard to notice and not associated with screens – or so we believe.

The eyes will remain moist - and healthier – if you blink regularly whilst in front of a computer or mobile screen. Another possibility is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. In other words, after every 20 minutes spent in front of a screen, you should look at something 20 metres away for 20 minutes. This allows the eyes to rest and refresh.

Spend less time in front of the blue light

Another major factor affecting eyes is the blue light that radiates from the digital gadgets that we use daily. The blue light itself has no negative effects, but the problem lies when we are exposed to it in excess, which could possibly cause long-term problems with the eyes.

How can these problems be avoided? A simple recommendation is to try to spend less time in front of digital gadgets. For example, refrain from spending time in front of any screen for two hours before going to sleep. Some studies have found that it is easier to sleep with eyes that are already well-rested.

Children especially should spend time in front of screens in moderation, as their eyes have not yet fully developed, making the blue light more harmful. Parents should ensure that children don’t spend more than a couple of hours per day in front of electronic screens. By the time we are 18 years old, the eyes are fully developed.

You should contact your eye doctor if you have noticed any changes in your eyes, your eyesight has deteriorated or your eyes are painful, tired, scratchy or dry.