Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Corinne Schmitt
This sponsored post is a part of the campaign “Protecting America’s Eyes” by Reticare in order to inform U.S. citizens about the importance of eye protection from device screens. The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.
As a blogger I spend several hours a day looking at a screen – either my computer or my smartphone. My kids, who have been raised in the computer-era, spend an almost equal amount of time in front of screens. For my teens, their cell phones are an ever-present accessory and much of their homework involves sitting in front of the computer. All of this exposure to the high-energy light from these products can lead to several problems, including retina damage, so today I am sharing some easy ways to protect eyes from digital eye strain.
Risks of Exposure to High-Energy Light
If you’re like most Americans, you probably use digital devices at least five hours each day. 70% of us use two or more devices. It’s likely you’ve experienced some of the problems associated with exposure to the high-energy light from these devices, though you might not have realized the cause.
Nearly tw0-thirds of Americans experience symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), also known as Digital Eye Strain. These symptoms are:
- Neck, shoulder, and/or back pain
- Eye strain
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
High-energy light can also interfere with sleep, particularly in children. The National Sleep Foundation reports that compared to other children, those who use an electronic device in bed before falling asleep:
- Have later bedtimes
- Experience fewer hours of sleep
- Report more daytime sleepiness
One of the greatest risks associated with overexposure to digital devices is that it can lead to a decrease in macular thickness which can eventually result in macular degeneration. Since the macula (the central portion of our retina) controls our ability to read, drive a car, and recognize faces and colors, this side effect of technology is one to take seriously. If ignored, damage can result in glaucoma, cataracts, and even blindness.
Our children are at even greater risk since natural lens protection isn’t developed until age 25, making them more susceptible to damage than adults.
Ways to Protect Eyes from Digital Eye Strain
My goal in describing the risks associated with exposure to electronic devices wasn’t intended to scare you into giving up technology for good. As a blogger and a mom, I rely on and value these devices that allow me to make a living, stay connected with my friends and family, and manage my personal and professional life more easily. Luckily, there are other ways you can protect your eyes, and your children’s eyes, from high-energy light without banning electronic devices from your home.
Limit Screen Time
Like most areas of our lives (food, exercise, work, leisure), tech time is best in moderation. I’m a big believer in establishing no-screen zones and times. Establish areas in your home where electronic devices are off-limits (e.g. dinner table) and times when they cannot be used (e.g. the two hours before bedtime).
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
When working at a computer, take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to focus on objects that are at least 20 feet away.
If your cell phone or tablet has an auto-brightness feature, use it. If, like mine, the lowest brightness setting is still too bright, look for apps that give you more control. Many computers also have an auto-brightness or adaptive brightness feature. However, I’ve found that mine doesn’t adjust ideally for me so I don’t use it. Instead, I set the brightness on my computer to match the overall brightness in my office.
One of the easiest ways to protect against high-energy light exposure is to use Reticare eye protectors. These screen protectors are imperceptible once applied to your device but they greatly reduce high energy light while simultaneously protecting your screens from damage.
Unlike other screen protectors, Reticare eye protectors were developed in a joint collaboration with the Complutense University of Madrid and are patented and scientifically proven. Reticare makes eye protectors for smartphones (including a tempered glass version), tablets, laptops, and computer monitors.
Since my teens and I have our phones with us for most of the day, I invested in the eye protectors for our smartphones.
Each kit came with TWO screen protectors, instructions, and all of the tools needed for application (a cleansing wipe, applicator, and a screen cleaner for each protector). The protectors made for specific phones also came with a foam frame to ensure proper placement of the protector on the screen. For those of you who hate reading instructions, they also have application videos available online.
After we applied the protectors to our phones, none of us noticed a difference in clarity. The surface is slightly different than that of my last screen protector so typing on my phone felt a little different at first, but only took me a day to get used to. It actually feels more like my phone’s actual screen than a screen protector. As you can see in the picture above, the protectors are tinted yellow. I was worried that everything on my phone would look pale yellow. When the phone is laying on my desk or on a table, it appears to have a yellowish tint to it, but it disappears when I pick up the phone and look directly at it.
Application literally takes less than a minute and isn’t any more difficult than applying any other screen protector. Of all the tips I’ve suggested, this is by far the easiest to implement since it doesn’t require us to change our behaviors at all! So, for those of you who just can’t imagine reducing your family’s screen time, at the very least, you should be using Reticare eye protectors on your screens.
Long-Term Eye Health
Like other aspects of healthy living, ideally you’d do everything you can to protect your eye health. If it’s easiest to start with an eye and screen protector, definitely start there. However, over time you should incorporate some of the other eye-healthy habits listed above. You’ll find they benefit not only your eyes, but also your overall health and well-being (including higher quality family time).