Optometrist recommends less screen time

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Between virtual chats and more opportunity to binge-watch your favorite shows, you may not realize how much time you’re spending in front of a screen.

You may not think about the impact on your eye health.

“We’re concerned that we may be damaging our eyes with long term use of all these digital screens that we look at,” said Dr. Brent Jones, optometrist. “All these LED screens.”

According to eyesafe.com, the average person 18 years old or older was spending 13 hours per day in front of a screen.

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This compared to 10 hours just last year.

Jones said the devices we use are tinted toward the blue light of the spectrum, which is more high energy, similar to ultraviolet light.

“The blue light can interrupt our sleeping cycles,” Jones said. “A lot of people find it hard to sleep if they’re on those screens too close to bedtime. Even getting headaches and just eye strain with the blue light.

There are blue light screen filters to help with this impact.

Jones also said we don’t blink as often when in front of a screen, leading to dry eyes, burning and itching.

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He recommended the 20-20-20 rule.

“Every twenty minutes look away from the screen to about 20 feet for 20 seconds,” Jones said. “It’s almost like an eye stretch. When we look up close our eyes are more strained. When we look far away they relax so just relax your eyes every twenty minutes.”

Jones said parents need to protect their kids as well.

“Kids these days are becoming more and more near sided because of our indoor lifestyle,” he said. “The fact that that’s been magnified with the COVID-19 and everyone staying inside too much that’s a real concern.”