Like many people, you probably do most of your reading on a screen. Whether it is work-related or simply for fun, it is often easier and cheaper to go digital.
While you may be saving money by buying the digital copy of a novel rather than picking up a hardcopy, reading everything on a screen can come with additional costs if you do not take extra steps to care for your eyes. Below are some great steps to help preserve your vision for a lifetime of reading to come.
- Take eye breaks using the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a break from looking at the screen and focus your eyes on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will relieve some of the strain on your eyes and help them endure long periods of screen time.
- Use a blue light filter. Blue light is a form of visible light emitted by most consumer electronic devices using backlit screens, like smart phones or computer monitors. Studies have shown that too much exposure to blue light, particularly at night, can have negative health effects. It is possible to combat excess blue light exposure with a physical filter like blue light glasses, or a digital filter such as a blue light reduction mode on your device. Many devices now come with options to reduce blue light output, but if yours does not have these filter options you can try software-based filters such as f.lux.
- Physically adjust your device. Be careful to not hold your phone or tablet too close to your face while reading. Keep it at a distance that allows you to read comfortably, but not closer than that. If you are reading on a computer monitor, adjust it so the monitor is an arm’s length in front of you and the top of the monitor is at or just below eye level.
- Keep your eyes moist. We tend to blink less when looking at screens which can lead to dry eyes. Try to make a habit out of consciously blinking more often, or use artificial tears. If you choose artificial tears, consult your doctor on which eye drops would be best for your situation.
Taking care of your eyes is not a daunting task, and can be done with just a few simple adjustments. Make small changes to your habits and you can help your eyes give you a lifetime of sight and healthy reading!