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Staring at phone screens for too long can increase the risk of myopia

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Dhruvin Patel, leading optometrist, is a specialist in the impact of blue light on eye health – that is light produced by telephone and computer screens.

Blue light can make it harder to fall asleep and impact eye health

Researchers say exposure to blue light may increase the risk of damage to vision and make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Patel shared his tips for minimizing the impact of blue light while working from home or using screens.

1. Work at arm’s length from the screen

Fully extend your arm and work from a distance – looking from your eyes to the tip of your fingertips.

Use this as a minimum distance to reduce the stress on your eyeballs.

2. 20/20/20

Simply put, every 20 minutes, look away from the screen at least 6 meters away for at least 20 seconds.

This will help reset your visual systems and eyes during long periods of screen work.

3. Screen height

The height and level of your work screen can have a major impact on eye strain.

Research has shown that it is better to position the screen higher than the user’s viewing level – the center point should be 5 to 6 inches below the straight line of the user’s view.

This makes the space between the upper and lower lids more open, often resulting in dry eyes.

4. Lighting

Position the computer screen to avoid glare, especially from overhead lights or windows.

Use blinds or curtains on windows and replace incandescent bulbs in desk lamps with lower wattage, lower intensity bulbs.

If there is no way to minimize glare from light sources, consider using an anti-glare filter.

5. Put a post-it on your screen with the title ‘BLINK’.

Normally we blink up to 20 times in a minute. This is automatically controlled by our central nervous system, so we are not aware of the blinking.

On screens, this is reduced to 3-5 times per minute, which means that our tear films cannot be maintained and the eye does not remain lubricated.

A post-it note on your screen that reads “Blinking” should help you make a conscious effort to blink. It’s simple but definitely works.

6) Think about your device

Usually the biggest, newest phone is best, but not in front of your eyes. An iPhone X is 20 percent brighter than an iPhone 6 and emits more blue light.

This is the difference of 100 percent more exposure to harmful blue light!

7. Don’t forget to turn off

I would not recommend digital devices or artificial lighting after sunset. If you’re like most people, you probably send that last minute email or finish your favorite show on Netflix before going to bed.

Try reading a book or start that meditation you promised yourself in the new year.

Dhruvin Patel says you shouldn’t assume that “night mode” or “blue shade” on devices is enough to counteract the impact of blue light.

He said this has been “proven not to promote sleep compared to normal screen output” and so even if it’s enabled, you should still avoid the screen after sunset if possible.

Patel founded a company called Ocushield that produces screen protectors to filter out blue light based on his research on the impact of the light source.

Source: Dhruvin Patel (Ocushield)

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