As I mentioned in last week’s blog, Prevent Blindness has deemed March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month. This non-profit organization is currently promoting awareness about the dangers of blue light exposure from computers, televisions, and device screens including smart phones and tablet screens. Recent studies suggest that long-term exposure to the blue light emitted from these screens can cause digital eye strain with eye fatigue and dry eyes that can in some cases lead to eye problems like macular degeneration from damage to the cornea.
The largest source of blue light is sunlight. However, there is concern over the long-term effects of screen exposure because of the close proximity of the screens and the length of time spent looking at them, both during the workday and after.
So what can you do to protect your eyes from blue light?
- Screen time: Try to decrease the amount of time spent in front of screens and/or take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest. Remember the 20-20-20 rule that every 20 minutes, you should look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
- Lighting: Reduce overhead lighting to eliminate screen glare.
- Position: Position yourself at an arm’s distance away from the screen for proper viewing distance when at a computer.
- Text size: Increase text size to better define the content on the screen.
- Computer glasses: Computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses that block blue light can help ease computer digital eye strain by increasing contrast.
- Anti-reflective lenses: Anti-reflective lenses reduce glare and increase contrast and also block blue light from the sun and digital devices. These can be incorporated into most any eyeglass frames and some contact lenses.
- Filters: Screen filters are available for smart phones, tablets, and computer screens that decrease the amount of blue light given off from these devices.
According to the Vision Council, 59 percent of American adults have reported symptoms of digital eye strain. If you have more than 2 hours of screen time a day you are at risk for developing symptoms. In addition to the tips noted above for protecting your eyes, it’s important to schedule regular eye exams by an eyecare professional.
For additional information about protecting your eyes from blue light, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.