17In an increasingly technological world, screens have become essential to daily life. Many careers require excessive use of a computer, and even away from work people are glued to their cell phones, tablets, televisions, or another computer. While there are still questions as to whether this constant use of electronic screens causes permanent eye damage, they certainly cause a great deal of eye strain, fatigue, and discomfort. Be sure that you’re doing everything you can to make your computers and other devices less taxing on your eyes.

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The ideal way to reduce eye strain from your devices is to simply stop using them. Since that isn’t an option for most, here are 5 good habits that will significantly decrease your eye strain.

Arm’s Length

A good rule of thumb for using both computers and cell phones is to keep the devices about an arm’s length away. It’s important to make sure that you’re not squinting or straining to be able to read the screen, so increase the size of the text if you need to.

The “20-20-20” Rule

Every 20 minutes you should take a 20 second break from your screen and look into the distance at something around 20 feet away. Supplement these short breaks with a few other breaks throughout the day of at least a few minutes at a time to give your eyes a little extra rest.

Reduce Glare

Keep the screens of your devices clean and try to keep from using them (especially cell phones) in direct sunlight, which causes your eyes to strain even more to see the screen. If your desk or computer is situated in such a way that it is hit with a lot of sunlight or overhead lighting, adjust it.

Blink!

When we’re focused on screens, we tend to not blink as much as we should. This leads to dry and red eyes, which irritates and fatigues them. Remind yourself to blink frequently.

Use the Printer

If you have a long document or article you need to read, print it out and read it that way. This will give your eyes another good break from the strain caused by the computer screen.

Following these five tips will help reduce the eye strain you experience from prolonged use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices. You should schedule a regular eye exam to make sure that  your eyes are healthy and to adjust your prescription if you have (or need!) contacts or glasses.

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