Dr Manuel Abreu: Limiting Screen Time for Your Sight’s Sake

In today’s digital era, screens are an integral part of your lives. Whether it’s for work, relaxation, or social connection, the time you spend in front of screens is immense. However, this increasing dependence on electronic devices tends to overlook the potential harm it poses to your eyes. Dr Manuel Abreu will discuss why limiting your screen time is crucial and how it can potentially benefit your sight.

Understanding Digital Eye Strain

Your eyes are not naturally equipped to handle long periods staring at screens. Doing so may lead to a common condition known as digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, eye strain, and even neck and shoulder pain. If ignored, Dr Manuel Abreu states that these symptoms can worsen, leading to more severe eye health issues and discomfort.

The Benefits of Limiting Screen Time

  • Reduced Risk of Dry Eyes – Blinking is essential to moisturize your eyes. However, studies show that when you look at screens, your blink rate significantly reduces, leading to dry and itchy eyes. When you limit screen time, you naturally blink more, keeping your eyes well-lubricated and comfortable.
  • Less Eye Fatigue – your eyes work hard to focus on the pixels on a screen, leading to eye fatigue. By reducing screen time, you give your eyes much-needed respite, effectively alleviating eye fatigue.
  • Minimized Exposure to Blue Light – Although not all blue light is harmful, the high-energy visible (HEV) blue light emitted by screens can potentially damage your eyes over prolonged exposure. Restricting screen time minimizes your exposure to this blue light, potentially reducing the risk of eye damage.

Implementing Screen Time Limits for Eye Health

  • Implement the 20-20-20 Rule – Optometrists recommend the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. This method helps to relax the eye muscles, preventing strain and fatigue.
  • Cultivate Screen-free Habits – Substitute screen time with hobbies that don’t involve screens. It can be reading a physical book, gardening, going for a walk, or even doing a puzzle. Such activities provide a healthy and beneficial break for your eyes.
  • Turn off Notifications – To avoid unnecessary screen time, disable notifications for non-essential apps. This strategy helps to limit the constant screen-checking habit, reducing overall screen use.

Making Screens Friendlier To Your Eyes

While ideally, you’d all limit your screen time, sometimes it’s not realistic. So, when you have to use screens, ensure it’s as gentle on your eyes as possible.

  • Adjust Display Settings – Ensure your screen brightness is equivalent to the lighting in your room. It’s also beneficial to increase the text size and contrast to reduce strain on your eyes.
  • Use Blue Light Filters – Many devices now offer a blue light filter setting. If yours doesn’t, consider investing in a standalone blue-light filtering screen protector or glasses.

For Dr Manuel Abreu, investing in your eye health by limiting screen time is a necessity, not a luxury. Despite the digital demands of modern life, taking steps to protect and maintain your sight should always be a priority. Remember, your sight is your window to the world; let’s handle it with the care it deserves.