Screen time and confinement: beware of blue light!
by Optoplus / April 2020
Teleworking, social networks, video games, apps, films and series… Whether it is for work, leasure, learning or staying connected, screens occupy a large part of our lives (especially in this confinement period)! But do you spend too much time in front of them? Between smartphones, computers, tablets and television, the hours add up quickly and it's easy to lose track of it before experiencing the harmful effects. Find out what is blue light, how to protect your eyes, and simple tricks to strengthen your eyes and counter eye strain.
What is blue light?
Resembling a rainbow, the spectrum of visible light ranges from red to purple. The more it tends towards purple, the higher its energy intensity gets. Although the natural blue-turquoise light found in the sun rays can be health-beneficial, blue-violet light from artificial sources, including fluorescent lighting and electronic devices, can cause damage to the retina when we are overexposed to it. Therefore, due to their proximity to the eyes, prolonged use of screens is particularly harmful, since it exposes us to overly high amounts of blue light.
Harmful effects of screens
Staring at a screen for an extended period can cause blurred vision, dry, irritated eyes, headaches and neck pain. In addition, blue light can cause sleep disturbances. The harmful effects of screens are numerous (and real)! In the short term, this diffuse light creates a glare causing visual tension. Eye fatigue is felt, particularly in terms of details and contrasts, which can affect concentration, memory and work productivity. In the long term, prolonged exposure to blue light can damage the retina’s photosensitive cells and reduce the quality of your vision.
How to protect your eyes?
Control your screen time
Remember to limit your screen time to less than two consecutive hours, and take breaks when you start to experience eye strain. If you work on a computer, consider reducing the time spent on your other electronic devices. Some smartphones allow you to consult your screen time and schedule downtime!
It is recommended to avoid using your electronic devices before going to sleep in order to prevent them from disturbing your sleep cycle, and to opt for a warm and dim light in the bedroom. Also consider reducing the brightness of your screens to avoid glare and blinking more often to avoid dry eyes.
Are you too close to your screens? The minimum recommended distance is 3 to 4 meters for the television, 70 cm for the computer, 40 cm for the tablet and 20 cm for the phone.
Using filters that reduce your exposure to blue light from your screens is also one of the easy solutions to protect your eyes. Are you squinting or can't see clearly? It may be time to get another eye exam! Rather than systematically bringing the screen closer, consider wearing your glasses and contact an optometrist if necessary.
Glasses with specialized treatment are able to filter out harmful blue light. These lenses provide protection to significantly reduce the harmful effects and discomfort related to blue light, in addition to correcting your vision. These lenses are also available without a prescription! Take a look at the eyewear selection offered by our private Canadian brand of Vision Avenue, with the option to shop online from home!
Tips to follow at home
Essential to give your eyes a little rest during a long day at work, these tips will help you release visual tension, strengthen your eyes and avoid eye strain!
The concept is simple: take a break every 20 minutes and look away from your screen to fix a point at a 20 feet distance, for 20 seconds.
The benefits of good posture are numerous. Keep your back straight, feet should rest on the floor. The top of your computer screen should be leveled with your eyes. The screen should be 70 cm away from your eyes. Go for natural lighting as much as possible and avoid neon lights.
Avoid screens during your break
If you work from home or spend a large part of the day in front of a screen, it is essential to take breaks from the screen. Go for a walk around the block, cook, meditate, exercise, but at all costs avoid spending your break in front of your phone. Your eyes will thank you, because they also work and need to rest.
Small ametropias become more difficult to compensate when the workload is heavy. If you feel visual fatigue while working, correcting these ametropias will greatly improve your vision and comfort on a daily basis.
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