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Navigating Screen Time and Digital Wellness for Optimal Eye Health

Cases of digital eye strain (DES) have become increasingly prevalent over the past few years.

In contrast to eye disorders like glaucoma, myopia, and strabismus, which can have spiritual meanings and causes, as we covered in a previous post, DES is directly linked to lifestyle choices like screen overuse.

As a matter of fact, a Time article highlights that Americans in their early twenties used their phones an average of 28.5 hours per week in 2020, but more recent statistics suggest that that number is now closer to 50 hours per day — and it’s impacting our eye health. 

In this article, we’ll explore research on how screen time affects eye health and overall wellness and discuss practical strategies for managing screen use to protect your vision and overall health. 

The link between screen time, eye health, and overall wellness

An investigation published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care found that DES is directly related to the time spent on digital screens, with 52.8% out of 435 respondents reporting eyestrain and 31.3% complaining of headaches from device use.

Furthermore, greater screen time has been linked to poorer sleep quality due to the blue light emitted by devices suppressing melatonin production, which is responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles.

In turn, poor sleep quality causes daytime sleepiness, impaired mental function, mood changes, and reduced immune function. 

In addition to these health impacts, an international observational study found that higher levels of screen time and lower levels of physical activity were associated with reduced life satisfaction and higher psychosomatic complaints among adolescents.

Excessive screen time scrolling through social media also has a profound effect on mental well-being, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and brain fog.

Digital wellness tips

Limit screen use before bed

Currently, there are no set guidelines as to how much screen time is healthy for adults. However, since we now understand the impact of screen time on sleep quality, it’s best to at least limit device use to two hours before bedtime.

Instead of doom-scrolling into the wee hours, put screens away and opt for more relaxing activities like meditation or reading.

To create a more conducive environment for sleep, sleep doctors also recommend keeping your bedroom dark and only using dim nightlights like the NoBlue Plugin Amber Night Light. Unlike blue light, warm amber light does not interfere with your circadian rhythm, helping you get better rest.

Wear blue light glasses

Blue light is not always bad. In fact, it’s part of natural sunlight, and exposure to it in the daytime can help regulate your sleeping pattern. Nighttime exposure to blue light, on the other hand, can make it harder to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest.

You can prevent this by wearing blue light glasses, especially in the hours before bed. On Eyebuydirect, you’ll find a range of options for these specialized glasses that filter out blue-violet light to protect your eyes and make your vision more comfortable. In addition to blocking blue light, these glasses are equipped with anti-scratch, anti-glare, and UV-protective coatings to keep your eyes safe throughout the day. 

Take screen breaks

Digital eye strain mainly comes from prolonged digital device use.

Looking at our phones or laptops at close range requires ocular motility that makes the muscles in our eyes work harder. But since our eyes are not meant for this type of near work for extended periods, it consequently leaves our eyes red, dry, and feeling fatigued.

To mitigate this, ophthalmologists advise taking frequent screen breaks by looking away from your screen every 20 minutes to focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. For alleviating dry eyes, you can keep eye drops like the Rohto Cooling Eye Drops, which are formulated to soothe overworked eyes from too much screen time.

Prioritizing digital wellness is crucial for maintaining optimal eye health in today’s screen-centric world. By using the simple tips outlined above, you can protect your vision and avoid the negative effects of excessive screen time.