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Is Screen Time Bad For My Eyes?

Mar 18, 2015
By Jason Chirichigno

In today’s society, glowing screens are ubiquitous: computers, tablets, phablets, phones — and the list goes on and on. We’re all guilty of it, but have you ever asked yourself whether all this tech time is actually bad for your eyes?

The short answer is “yes,” but you don’t need to abandon technology just yet. Here, we’ll explore the problem and how to mitigate this risk.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recognizes computer vision syndrome (CVS) as a distinct clinical issue. We can all relate to its symptoms after a long day of staring at a computer screen: eye strain, headaches, blurred vison, dry eyes, and musculoskeletal pain (most prominent in the neck and shoulders). Numerous factors are at the root of this 21st-century problem, including poor lighting, glare from the screen, your posture, and your distance from the screen. The extent of your symptoms usually comes down to two key factors: your underlying vision and the time spent in front of the screen. So, how can you protect yourself?

For most individuals the symptoms of CVS are transient and resolve quickly at the end of the workday, but for some, the symptoms can persist. That’s why it’s important to do everything you can to prevent the onset of CVS.

Don’t Ditch Eye Exams

First, be vigilant about your eye health. Regular eye exams with your primary care physician and optometrist will help determine if you have an uncorrected vision problem. You should have regular eye exams whether you have a prescription or not. Your vision changes, so you may need to correct your vision for the first time ever–or you might need a stronger prescription this time around.

Clean Up Your Screen Time Habits

Your computer screen should be roughly four to five inches below eye level and about two feet from your face. If you use reference materials, position them above the keyboard and below your monitor. Minimize overhead glare with an antiglare screen and use a comfortable, ergonomic chair. Be mindful of blinking often to prevent dry eyes and schedule regular breaks from staring at your screen. The AOA recommends 15 minutes of break time for every two hours in front of the computer to give your eyes a chance to rest. Go ahead take a short walk.

Computers are always going to be a part of our lives, so let’s do our best to protect our eyes from CVS.

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Jason Chirichigno

Jason Chirichigno believes primary care offers the ability to form lifelong relationships that affect lasting change. He appreciates how One Medical fosters the doctor-patient partnership and allows him the opportunity to practice his engaged, caring, and compassionate style. Jason believes it’s important to have an open discussion about lifestyle modifications that include nutrition and exercise and to provide patients with in-depth explanations of medications they may be taking or considering. Jason particularly enjoys addressing issues involved in sports medicine, as well as treating complicated illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, and endocrine issues like hypothyroidism. Additionally, he also enjoys treating mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. To stay healthy, he incorporates walking, healthy eating, and meditation into his daily life. When he’s not in the office, he loves exploring new cities on foot, trying new restaurants, traveling, and spending time with his wife and two young children. Born and raised in New York City, he crossed the country with his family to embrace the healthy California lifestyle and help his Los Angeles patients internalize that health ethos. Jason attended Cornell University for his undergraduate degree, Boston University School of Medicine for his master’s degree in medical sciences, and St. George’s University for his medical degree. He graduated from his internal medicine residency at Lenox Hill Hospital, which is part of the Hofstra University School of Medicine.

The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, a national, modern primary care practice pairing 24/7 virtual care services with inviting and convenient in-person care at over 100 locations across the U.S. One Medical is on a mission to transform health care for all through a human-centered, technology-powered approach to caring for people at every stage of life.

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