Screen fatigue and how to fight it

Screen fatigue is a hot topic of late, and rightly so. Since the pandemic started, we’re spending more time on screens and our eyes and minds are paying the price. Not only does staring at a screen for hours every day cause eye strain, but it’s also psychologically taxing and can leave us feeling tired and frustrated.

Symptoms of screen fatigue

If you’re spending a lot of time looking at a screen, you may have noticed dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, or even back and neck pain. Sound familiar? It’s important not to ignore these symptoms because not only can they make day-to-day life uncomfortable, screen fatigue can also contribute to more severe issues like near-nearsightedness or macular degeneration in the long term.

How to tackle screen fatigue

These simple measures can help keep screen fatigue at bay:

1 – The 20-20-20 rule

Give your eyes regular breaks by following the 20-20-20 rule. It’s been proven to work as a line of defence against eye strain, plus it’s easy and quick. After 20 minutes at your screen, look at something 20 feet (6m) away for 20 seconds. That’s enough time for your eyes to relax and refocus.

2 – Limit unnecessary screen time

Are there things you do on the screen that you could do in other ways? Instead of taking notes on a laptop, go old school and use a pen and paper instead. Do you need to look at the screen on every Zoom call, or would just listening in suffice? And if you use your laptop, tablet or phone to watch Netflix, swap for the TV instead. A larger screen further away is better for your eyes than a small one close up.

3 – Don’t forget to blink

We should be blinking 10-20 times a minute, but we tend to blink a lot less when we’re gazing at our screens. Unfortunately, this is not good news for our eyes. So pay attention to how often you’re blinking and try to do it more often. Over the counter eye drops can help mimic our eyes’ lubrication from blinking and prevent sore, dry eyes.

4 – Invest in blue light filters

Spending a lot of time looking at a screen means you’re getting a lot of exposure to blue light. Blue light filtering glasses and screen protectors are popular solutions to improve eye strain symptoms, relieve discomfort, and improve productivity. They also reduce the risk of getting age-related macular degeneration. In addition, filtering the blue light in the evening will help you get a good night’s sleep – bonus productivity points.

5 – Get regular eye checks

Never underestimate the value of healthy vision. Yearly check-ups with professionals should be a given, regardless of whether you have screen fatigue or not. An optometrist can check the health of your eyes, often seeing issues before you do, and they can recommend any lenses or drops that are best suited to you and your individual needs.

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