Anyone that has sat a computer for a long period of time can feel the toll that it takes on their eyes. At the end of a long studying session or after experiencing prolonged screen time, your eyes are red, irritated and feeling simply tired (especially if you haven’t done any eye exercises).
This “tired” feeling is linked to the effect that high-intensity lights have on our retinas (the portion of our eye that is most sensitive to light), also known as light pollution. A large amount of exposure to screens, computer monitors and cell phones is now being linked to central blindness. So, the answer to the question “how to improve vision?” probably has something to do with less screen time.
Electronic Light’s Effect on Your Vision
The number of cases of central blindness occurring has resulted in the issue being considered a global epidemic – affecting all ages, places, and cultures. The most concerning aspect of this issue is how early children are being exposed to excessive screen time and the effect that it is taking on their eyesight at such a young age. Mobile devices and back-lit screens have taken the place of the babysitter, and a large number of schools are issuing homework to be completed on a tablet or laptop at home.
The effect of the LED light emitted by electronic devices transmits a short wavelength, high energy light that is harmful to our eyes. The adverse effect of children’s shorter arm length results in a closer position to a child’s face and creates potentially more harm to their young eyes. Just as sitting is the new smoking, screen time is the new “staring at the sun.”
A study conducted at the University Complutense of Madrid in Spain found that the implementation of filtering eyewear has a large effect on protecting against retinal cell death. The study exposed rats to white LED screens over the course of three months. One test group was exposed to a filter on their screen, the other group without a filter. The test group that was fortunate enough to be offered a filtered screen experienced zero retinal cell death. The less fortunate test group exposed to an unfiltered screen experienced a 23 percent increase in retinal cell death (a leading cause in central blindness).
How to Prevent Screen-Time Damage
Your vision is worthy of your protection. There are a number of ways to protect yourself and your children against the causes of central blindness. Consider the following tips to safeguard you and your loved ones at home, at work and at school.
How to Improve Vision At Home
In general, try to limit your time in front of screens at home. Our lives are so overly saturated with lit screens it has become almost unavoidable. It is common to be bombarded with advertisements at the gas pump, on the bus or in the taxi.
Take the opportunity to cut out any screen time, including your smartphone, when possible in your own home. If possible, try some eye exercises. What’s nice is that eye exercises don’t have to be some elaborate process. It can be as simple as taking time away from your screen and reading your favorite print publications. Remove the television from the living room and replace it with shelves full of board games, books, or crafts.
How to Improve Vision At Work
When your job requires using a computer or digital device to accomplish your tasks, it is important to know how to care for your eye health to avoid potential long term effects.
Eye exercises such as the 20-20-20 rule are helpful for those extended periods of screen time. For every 20 minutes that you stare at a digital screen take 20 seconds to stare at something at least 20 feet away. This allows your eyes to relax and relieve the strain caused by the harsh lighting of your screens. It is recommended to rest your eyes for a consecutive 15 minutes for every two hours of screen time.
The placement of your computer and body positioning can play a big part in the effect that your screen has on your eyes. When sitting or standing at your work desk, place your screen 4 to 5 inches below your resting eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from your eyes.
If possible place your screen in an area that will produce the lowest amount of glare. Place your screen in the opposing direction of any windows in the room avoid placing it directly under overhead lighting.
How to Improve Vision At School
In an effort to protect your children’s vision, you will have to put in a considerable amount of effort considering the amount of exposure available to digital screens. There has been a large increase in technology use in schooling– both inside and outside the classroom.
Teachers are moving towards using tablets for testing, interactive E-books as a learning tool and an increase in flipped classrooms (homework becoming recorded videos that they watch at home creating more time for hands-on activities at school). With increased amount of digital screen time as part of the new era of learning, it becomes the parents’ responsibility to limit the amount of time spent recreationally in front of a LED screen.
Placing a smartphone in the hands of your child and expecting them to adhere to an hour limit of screen time is simply unrealistic. To enable your child to have a means of communication without increasing their screen time, consider getting them a basic cell phone, often marketed towards seniors, but excellent for kids as well, that serves only the purpose of making phone calls.
Without the ease of access to a smartphone, parents are playing a part in helping to reduce their children’s time spent within inches of a high lit screen.
Wanna know how to improve vision? Operate on the offensive. It is wise to have your children’s eyes checked on an annual basis to make sure they are not straining their eyes in the event that their eyes have been weakened by overexposure. Check with your doctor, too, if there are any eye exercises you can practice with your children to both improve your vision!
If they happen to be in need of glasses, purchase lenses that come with a UV coating and anti-glare to aid in preventing any further harm occurring. The anti-glare will help with decreasing the amount of light being reflected back at the child from the screen.