With technology all around us, we need to keep in mind how it effects our eyes. We use technology almost all day, every day. Whether we are checking our phones, working on the computer, or watching our favorite TV show, we use some type of technology. Our eyes weren’t meant to focus on 2-deminsional objects, like computer screens and TVs, for hours on end. By focusing on technology for too long, we can develop eye strain or Computer Vision Syndrome. Recent studies have shown that people who constantly use technology have a higher risk for developing glaucoma than those who limit their usage. There are a few things you can do to prevent hurting your eyes while using different technology.

An easy way to prevent eye strain is simply giving your eyes a rest. As a general rule, you should spend 5 minutes resting your eyes for every hour you spend looking at the computer. You can easily rest your eyes by either focusing on something else in the room or by closing your eyes. This will give your eyes a nice break and reduce the risk of getting eye strain or even an accommodative spasm. An accomodative spasm is when your eyes have focused on something close, like a book or computer, long enough that when you look away you have troubles focusing on further away objects, which can lead to several different problems. Accomodative spasm can result in eyestrain, headaches, troubles concentrating, and poor comprehension when reading. However, eye strains can result in headaches, dry or watery eyes, blurry vision, sore neck or back, shoulder pain, and sensitivity to light. By simply looking away and trying to focus on something else you can reduce getting sysptoms for either eye strain or accomodative spasm. To help out even more, you can get up and walk around for a few minutes as well. If you find it difficult to remember to take a break, there are plenty of programs such as EVO.  EVO is a simple desktop notification system that runs through your webrowser to remind you to take a break from your computer.

Changing the brightness on your screen depending on the time of day and the light surrounding you makes it a lot easier on your eyes. If you are using your phone outside at the brightest time of day, your screen should also be bright. The same concept goes if you are on your laptop at home with only a few lights on, you want the screen to be darker than it would be if the room was fully lit. Most laptops can be set to change the screen brightness automatically depending on the surrounding light. This is a special feature that most Macs come with, so if you are spending your day at work using accounting software you know that your Mac will instantly change the brightness of your screen according to the lights in your office. Where as, if your brought your accounting work home, your Mac would then change for the lighting in your house.  iPhone users can set their screen to change depending on the lighting around them. To set this up, you can go to the brightness and wallpaper settings on your phone and turn the Auto-Brightness option on. If you work in an office that has windows, you might need to reduce the glare on your computer screen. You can reduce glare by simply moving it in a place where the window won’t reflect on it, or by buying an anti-glare screen protector.

Having your computer in the proper position and making sure you are sitting correctly can help reduce eye strain, especially if you spend most of your day in front of a computer. When positioning your computer, you should keep the top of the monitor at eye level and have it be tilted slightly upwards. Doing this will make your eyes look slightly downwards at your screen instead of straight on. Looking downwards means that while you are using your computer, more of your eye will be covered by your eye lid and you will unconsciously blink more often. You should also position yourself about 20 inches away from your computer screen, or at arm’s length. With your screen at the proper distance, you should be able to see everything without needing to move your head too much. If you are using a laptop, you can put it on an adjustable stand so it sits at the proper height. You should also try to always sit up straight, with your arms and legs at a 90 degree angle. 

Your eyes are very important since you use them for just about any and every activity you do on a daily basis. You can take care of your eyes in more ways than changing how you use technology. A couple ways you can are eating right, living a healthy lifestyle, and getting your annual checkups. Some doctors also encourage patients to eat raw carrots because they contain vitamin A which is helpful for your eye site. Researchers even believe that drinking red wine can help protect your eyes along with other things such as your hear. Remember to take breaks when using technology, whether it’s watching TV, using the computer, or even using your smart phone. By making these small changes, you can protect your eyes from technology on a daily basis.

Nicky Elkins is a freelance writer from Pensacola, Florida. She attended the University of West Florida and earned her Graduate degree in Creative Writing. Nicky now uses her gift for writing and her love of all things technology to help others enjoy and understand consumer electronics, social media, and the coolest new gadgets.


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