Exposure to blue light during screen use — looking at computers, phones, tablets and video consoles — may have potential short- and long-term health implications, including damage to retina cells, disrupted sleep cycles and digital eye strain. Here are tips from Dr. Scott Edmonds, chief eye care officer for UnitedHealthcare, for healthy eye care.
Use the 20-20-20 Rule
The 20-20-20 rule recommends that after 20 minutes of computer work, people take 20 seconds to look at something that’s approximately 20 feet away. Other strategies include keeping devices at least 30 inches from the eyes and switching to a task for which the eyes don’t have to focus on something up close, such as going outside for a walk.
Blue-Light Blocking Technology
Smartphones now include a “night mode” feature, which adjusts the screen’s setting to help filter out blue light. Likewise, specialized screen protectors can feature blue light–filtering properties while also helping prevent cracks or scratches. To help block blue light at the source, some computer manufacturers are embedding blue light–filtering technology into the screens.
Get a Comprehensive Eye Exam
It’s a good idea to get an eye exam every year. Plus, a comprehensive eye exam may uncover other health conditions not usually associated with the eyes, including diabetes and some types of cancer. For children, remember that a school’s vision check is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam, as screenings usually focus on measuring acuity levels and might miss conditions such as poor eye alignment, focusing problems and farsightedness.