Too much screen time is bad for your health

By Nadine Halili | Photo by Ani Kolleshi/Unsplash

By now, we’ve become pretty familiar with how important social media is in a time like this. But we also need to be reminded that constant exposure to our gadgets negatively impacts our health.

While we spend so much time looking down on our phones or computers, we become prone to developing bad posture. This excessive time spent on our gadgets takes a toll on our eyes as well. Eye strain is a common condition that people suffer from due to long hours spent reading or using digital devices. While this may be unavoidable given today’s lifestyle, we still need to take extra precautions to ensure good eye health. Even if studies have shown that eyestrain is not an urgent condition, the experience is unpleasant and can cause other discomforts that can distract us from daily life. 

Watch out for these symptoms of eyestrain:

  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Sore, tired or itching eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty to focus and concentrate
  • Difficulty to keep eyes open
  • Headaches

When watching television, a softly lit room is easier on the eyes. If reading books or magazines, have a shaded light in front of you or directly face it onto the page, not on your eyes

To avoid eyestrain, follow these helpful tips and home remedies. 

  • Adjust the lighting. Whether working in front of a screen or reading print material, lighting matters. When watching television, a softly lit room is easier on the eyes. If reading books or magazines, have a shaded light in front of you or directly face it onto the page, not on your eyes.
  • Take eye breaks. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to help your eyes completely relax
  • Limit screen time. Excessive hours facing digital devices will cause eyestrain. 
  • Blink more often. People working on their computers tend to forget to blink, thus causing dry eyes. 
  • Improve air quality. Some changes in thermostat or humidity may help prevent dry eyes. If you smoke, consider quitting because it also has negative effects on your eyes.
  • Adjust your monitor. Position your computer at arm’s length away and at or just below eye level. This can help improve your posture as well.
  • Use a document holder. If you need to refer to print material while working on your computer, use a document holder. Some are designed to reduce the need for your eyes to readjust by turning your head and neck less frequently. 

If symptoms still persist and you think they’re just getting worse, we advise you seek help from a physician as soon as possible. Although it is unavoidable to go online to check on your loved ones and the situation of our community, try doing other things after you check the news instead of scrolling through social media. You can check out the different fitness classes available online or even hit two birds with one stone by working out while doing daily household chores.

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