Make sure you're blinking.

By Nashia Baker
May 01, 2020
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It goes without saying that spending more time at home due to the novel coronavirus pandemic has meant more screen time for just about everyone, and that, in turn, has lead to a great strain on our eyes, CNN reports. How do we combat the "digital vision syndrome," or vision- and eye-related issues associated with time spent looking at phones, computers, and tablets, that seems to be a natural side effect of quarantine? Dr. Raj Maturi, the clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a retina specialist, said it starts with a 20-20-20 approach to technology use: After 20 minutes of looking at your screen, look 20 feet away from the device for 20 seconds. "When you are looking at a close target, your eyes are just training that one muscle at all time, and looking into the distance can relieve it," he shared.

woman using laptop phone at home
Credit: Getty / Westend61

The expert added that blinking often when looking at bright devices is also necessary to give your eyes relief. "When things are bright, we blink less. It's behavioral. So we can train ourselves to blink more often and blink fully," he noted.

You should also make a habit of keeping your device about 18 to 30 inches away from you and positioning it within a direct view of your eyes. "If you are looking down, then your eyelid is shut a bit and you're not having as much evaporation—which can help prevent dry eyes. If you're looking up high, your eye dries much quicker," Dr. Rachel Bishop, a spokesperson for the National Eye Institute, said.

Dr. Maturi notes that viewing blue light—especially for kids—can cause issues with your sleep regimen, as well. "When we go outside we look at a blue sky, that's blue light," he said. "The issue with blue light is at night. It can delay your ability to sleep quickly." To tackle this issue, he recommends using a device's night mode view and spending time outside within the social distancing protocols in place.

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