DariuszSankowski (CC0), Pixabay

We live very much in the age of the screen. Most of us spend far too much time staring at either our work computers, our home tv screens, or our handheld devices. Over time, and in some instances relatively quickly, you will notice the negative reactions this level of usage will have on your body.

Clearly, your eyesight is the major potential area of concern, though other aspects such as the way you sit when consuming your screen time can have repercussions on your back and many other factors come into play if you position yourself unwisely for very long periods of time.

This is a very real issue and somewhat perversely your phone may well be sending you notifications as to the amount of time you spend staring at it, which is perhaps the very definition of irony.

So, what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones? There are a few tricks and tips that will help minimize the damage you can sustain from over-exposure to your screens.

Keep Your Distance

The first tip is something of an obvious one but surprisingly not something that people pay enough attention to. Try sitting at least 20 inches, to 28 inches, from your screen. This is in relation to your PC or TV screen.

If you find that you are straining your eyes to see effectively, then simply ramp up the size of the text, that way your computer does the straining for you.

Similarly when you are holding your devices try not to get stuck in the same position for too long, especially if that position involves craning your neck and leaving your spine in an unnatural angle.

If you are going to spend a lengthy period of time engaging with your screens then try to find a healthy gap between your eyeline and the device or screen you are viewing.

The Right Eyewear

If you wear glasses then you may well find that over-exposure to screens can lead to issues related to your sight. The coronavirus pandemic certainly led to an increased usage of screens and sales of blue light protection glasses have soared. These glasses are very apt at protecting you from the eye strain, damage, and disease associated with prolonged time in front of your various screens.

Indeed your increased time in front of screens may have left you noticing that your eyesight has suffered to the extent that you feel you need glasses for the first time. If you feel that your vision needs assistance then do not ignore what your body is telling, visit your optometrist and get a professional opinion.

Cut Down Time In front of Devices

Another way to deal with screen safety is to reduce your time spent in front of your screens but before you go into a blind panic, this can be done in a calm fashion. Firstly, if you spend all your workday in front of a screen, take a break every hour or so, even if it’s just to take a walk to the water cooler.

If you find yourself staring at your phone for longer than you feel is healthy, and most researchers feel that you shouldn’t spend more than two hours engaging with your personal devices, then make a point of setting your iPhone, Android smartphone, Ipad et al, and performing another action.

In all honesty, you’ll realize that about half of the time you are spending looking at your phone is unnecessary. After all, how many videos of cute cats or dumb dance crazes can you consume in one day before you realize you’ve had enough?

Another handy suggestion would be to switch off unnecessary notifications on your phone as these tend to coax you into more interaction with your device, a kind of invisible umbilical cord, that in all likelihood you can happily do without.

Adjust Screen Settings

If you are resigned to spending the same amount of time in front of your screens as you currently do, then try to make it as comfortable for your eyes as possible. Make sure the settings of brightness and contrast are not excessive and try to make use of as much natural light as possible.

Try to avoid scrolling endlessly on your phone when in bed and in the dark, this both damages your eyes and leads to your brain finding it hard to switch off and ease into sleep mode.

Perhaps make it a rule that you put your phone away for a minimum of an hour before you go to bed. Set yourself boundaries for screen use and you may well find that not only does your eyesight feel clearer but you may also feel that your overall well-being and sense of focus improves.