Whether it’s your desktop, laptop, iPad or smartphone, we all stare at some type of screen each day. Now that many of you are working from home your amount of screen time may have increased from your normal workday on campus. Focusing on small type or images for an extended period can cause eyestrain, fatigue and headaches. Be sure to take a break, blink, and follow the 20-20-20 rule.
20-20-20 RULE: Take a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object at least 20 feet away for a duration of 20 seconds or more.
Extended Safety Message:
- The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) cautions that staring at screens and other digital displays for long periods of time can leave your eyes red, parched and felling gritty.
- A 2019 study found that the average office worker spends 1,700 hours/year looking at a computer screen.
- All this screen time has led to an increase in complaints of eye strain, dry eye, fatigue, headaches and insomnia.
- Focusing the eyes on computer screens or other digital displays has been shown to reduce a person’s blink rate by a third to a half.
- The AAO recommends that we follow the 20-20-20 Rule. Take a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object at least 20 feet away for a duration of 20 seconds or more.
- When working with a desktop computer, keep the screen about 25 inches from your face, or about an arm’s length away. If doing so makes the words on the screen appear too small, adjust the font size.
- Screen glare from lighting can irritate your eyes. Try using a matte filter for your screen to help diminish glare.
- Keep eye drops handy to lubricate your eyes if they feel particularly dry. Or try using a personal humidifier at your desk to help keep your eyes moisturized through the day.
- If your screen is too bright, your eyes need to work harder. Adjust your screen’s brightness, as well as the lighting in your office or home, to reduce eyestrain.
- There is evidence that blue light may affect the body’s circadian rhythm, our natural wake and sleep cycle. During the day, blue light wakes us up and stimulates us. So, too much blue light exposure late at night from your phone or other devices may make it harder to get to sleep. Limit screen time one to two hours before bedtime.
- The AAO recommends that those experiencing consistently dry red eyes or eye pain should visit an ophthalmologist, a physician specializing in medical and surgical eye care.