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Is screen time affecting your vision?

Think about the number of hours you spend each day behind a screen. For many of us, that number has reached an all-time high since the pandemic surfaced. No wonder more people are dealing with dry, strained and unhappy eyes.

When you’re using a computer or electronic device, you tend to blink about half as often as if you were interacting face-to-face or moving between meetings. And, since blinking helps our eyes stay moist by spreading natural tears, our eyes are at greater risk of becoming irritated.

What are the common symptoms of dry eyes?

  • A stinging, burning or itching sensation in the eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Blurry or fluctuating vision, especially after looking at a screen
  • Feeling like there's something stuck in your eyes
  • Watery eyes, which is sometimes how the body tries to soothe irritated eyes

How can I prevent or relieve dry eyes?

In a perfect world, we’d tell you to reduce your screen time, but that is not always possible. The good news is there are still many steps you can take to prevent dry eyes or ease your symptoms.

The 20/20/20 rule can be especially effective. Every 20 minutes, simply take a 20-second visual break from what you're doing, blink a few times and look beyond 20 feet.

If that doesn't work, you also can:

  • Use over-the-counter artificial tears when your eyes feel dry
  • Get a humidifier to keep the air moist
  • Avoid strong drafts from air conditioners, fans, etc.
  • Keep your monitor at arm’s length away, and position the screen so your gaze is slightly downward (Your eyes work harder to see up close than farther away)
  • Use a matte screen filter if your screen has a lot of glare
  • Wear reading or computer glasses to prevent eye fatigue
  • Treat allergies and other underlying issues that can cause dry eyes
  • Put a warm, wet eye heating pad on your eyes to keep natural lubricating oils flowing freely

Still not finding relief?

If your eyes are frequently dry, tired or sore, and you struggle to alleviate symptoms, you should see an eye doctor. There are prescription medications and non-invasive treatments that can offer long-term relief. To learn more, watch this short video or contact your local Gundersen Eye Clinic.

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