WEDNESDAY, March 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Screens: They're at work, at home and even in the palm of your hand. But stare too long at them and your eyes -- and mind -- could pay a price, experts warn.
For example, too much screen time can lead to problems such as eye strain, dry eye, headaches and insomnia, the American Academy of Ophthalmology warns.
"Eyestrain can be frustrating. But it usually isn't serious and goes away once you rest your eyes or take other steps to reduce your eye discomfort," said Dr. Dianna Seldomridge, clinical spokesperson for the academy.
The average office worker spends 1,700 hours a year in front of a computer screen, according to a recent study. That doesn't include time spent using smart phones and other digital devices.
Here, the academy offers tips for preventing eye problems:
- Keep the screen at arm's length, about 25 inches away (eyes have to work harder to see close up) and position the screen so that your gaze is slightly downward.
- Use a matte screen filter to reduce glare that can aggravate your eyes. Be aware that if a screen is much brighter than the surrounding light, your eyes have to work harder to see. Adjust your room lighting and try increasing the contrast on your screen.
- Remember to blink and follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help your eyes relax.
- Lubricate your eyes with artificial tears when they feel dry. In offices with dry air, desktop humidifiers can be beneficial.
"If these tips don't work for you, you may have an underlying eye problem, such as eye muscle imbalance or uncorrected vision, which can cause or worsen computer eyestrain," Seldomridge said in an academy news release.
The U.S. National Eye Institute offers more eye health tips.