No, you’re not actually sleepy, your eyes are just tired from a whole day of staring at a screen.
When you see nothing but a screen
We use our devices to work, to play, to socialise, to read, to listen to music, among many other things. Our lives basically revolve around the screen and we unknowingly rack up hours upon hours of screen time – from 9am when we begin work to 11pm when we begin winding down for bed, we’re usually with a screen in front of our eyes.
While we’re using our devices, we may not feel the strain and stress in the moment. But staring at the screen without giving our eyes a little rest can lead to eye fatigue. Even children in Singapore as young as 9 years old spend up to 50 hours a week on screen time. And in America, adults spend up to 12 hours a day in front of a screen.
When our eyes are fatigued, we commonly experience the following symptoms:
- Dry, itchy eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Eye twitching
- Neck and shoulder pain
What can we do then?
There’s no avoiding screens in today’s digital age though – they’re a necessary tool in our daily lives now, especially our children’s. However, we can alleviate these symptoms and help prevent fatigued eyes altogether in 3 simple steps:
1. Take regular eye breaks
Make it a point to keep track of the duration of time you’re spending staring at the screen. Give yourself a 2-minute eye break every half an hour in front of the computer, phone or tablet. These regular eye break intervals are pertinent in helping to relieve eye fatigue and prevent Digital Eye Strain (DES).
2. Place your devices a good distance away
How near are you to your screen? As a guideline, you should place your smartphones and tablets at least 30cm away from your eyes. If you’re using your laptop or computer, your eyes should be around 26 inches away from the screen. Placing a good distance between your eyes and your screens help to lift the stress off your eyes and keep them healthy. In fact, placing your screens too near your eyes induces near work activity. Spending excessive amounts of time on near tasks can result in the growth of the axial length of the eye which can lead to myopia.
3. Eye drops for immediate relief
If your eyes begin to feel dry and itchy, you can find immediate, temporary relief in the form of lubricating eye drops. These eye drops help bring back some moisture in your eyes therefore alleviating them of discomfort. And if you don’t have access to any lubricating eye drops, you can always heat up a warm towel and create a warm compress to cover over your eyes.
Eye fatigue affects us all
We’ve all been a victim of eye fatigue at least once. But now with the right steps to take, we can begin to prevent it and keep our eyes healthy. If your symptoms persist however, it’s recommended that you visit an optometrist for a thorough check in order to determine what’s causing them.
You can book a comprehensive eye exam for your child today at planoeyecheck.com. Simply choose your nearest optometrist on the website, sign up, and you’re good to go! Let’s all keep our eyes healthy and safe.