In 2011, thirty five percent of American adults owned a smartphone. Now, in 2015, that number has nearly doubled. With more than sixty four percent of U.S. citizens owning a smartphone, its no wonder our vision health is worse than ever.
According to a recent study, nearly seventy percent of U.S. adults are suffering from digital eyestrain as a result of digital devices like smartphones. When looking at a digital screen, we tend to blink less which causes our eyes to dry out. Not only can this drying of the eyes result in an improper balance of tear production and drainage but it can also greatly affect the clarity of vision.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the average American, between 18- and 32-years-old, has more than 8 hours of contact with digital screens each day. This has resulted an in increase of nearsightedness and especially headaches.
As unsettling as these statistics may seem, it’s clear that our society isn’t straying away from a digital-aged society anytime soon. Thankfully, however, there are steps we can take to ensure our digital screens - in particular our cell phones - cause the least amount of vision damage as possible.
With these five tips, you can start using your smartphone in ways that won’t cause your eyes to suffer down the road.
The brighter your phone, the more stress your eyes undergo. Similarly, a screen that is too dark can also stress your eyes and cause them to have trouble maintaining focus.
The best way to combat this issue is to simply adjust the settings on your phone. We recommend selecting the “automated” setting (if applicable) so that your screen adjusts to your surrounding environment.
The average smartphone user holds their phone about eight inches from their face. This is not okay. Instead, make an effort to hold your phone one-to two-feet away from your face and just slightly below eye level. This prevents strain on your eyes and, though it might feel odd at first, you will quickly adjust.
Though many phone-owners assume this feature is strictly for the elderly or vision-impaired, text size can be incredibly beneficial to the average smartphone user. By adjusting the text contrast and size of your phone, you’ll relieve for eyes from stress by having easy-to-read emails, calendar appointments, messages, Internet content and more. This feature is available on all Android and Apple devices.
Glare can be one of the most damaging side effects of smartphones, and unless you have anti-glare glass or a matte screen protector, your eyes are likely suffering greatly. The best way to combat this issue is to purchase an anti-reflective coating and apply it carefully to your phone. These screen covers can be purchased at any cell phone store or through online stores like Amazon.
As we mentioned earlier, the longer you stare at your smartphone, the less likely you are to blink. Reduce the dryness and irritation that comes along with staring by blinking as frequently as possible. Set reminders on your phone if you have to, but try to blink at least 10 times every 20 minutes.
We swear by the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes of screen-time, take at least a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something 20 feet away or farther. Not only will your brain thank you, but your eyes will also have a chance to relax, refocus and re-moisturize.
So do yourself and your eyes a favor, and follow these five tips as closely as possible. Reduce the headaches, the zombie eyes and the irritation by adjusting the brightness, holding your phone away from your face, changing the text size, reducing glare and taking blink-breaks.
Also be sure to see an eye doctor for regular vision appointments. At VSP Direct, we provide you with affordable, reliable vision insurance that offers a vast selection of qualified eye doctors. By seeing an optometrist regularly, you can ensure your eyes are being well cared for and you can avoid any potential issues related to the over-use of digital screens. Call or visit VSP Direct to purchase your vision insurance, and give your eyes a break, today.
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Healthy vision association discounts
Some plans can only be accessed through membership in the Healthy Vision Association (HVA), which helps its members see well and stay healthy.
For $1.50/mo, your membership will give you access to exclusive discount programs* on everyday goods and services including:
Plus, your membership supports vision-related charities too.
*All rebates and special offers are subject to change