HOW TO AVOID EYE STRESS WHILE TEXTING
According to the latest Nielsen study, the average cell phone user sends about 500 text messages a month. Are your eyes slowly suffering due to all this texting? The specialists at King LASIK are here to inform you on how to text without the eye stress.
Texting is considered “near work,” a phrase that encompasses any work where the eyes are forced to focus on an object placed near to them. This type of work has been thought to possibly contribute to myopia (or nearsightedness), and has been shown to greatly affect the development of young people’s eyes. But aside from possibly affecting your vision for the worse, how else does texting affect your eyes?
Eye Strain and Dry Eye
Eye strain is a common result of staring at the small screen of a cell phone. Not only does the eye struggle to read the pixels on screen, it also squints to read the small type of the content. But the pixels and small type aren’t the only culprits — staring at the cell phone’s bright screen, even for a short period of time, tires the eyes, causing what has come to be known as “digital eye strain,” the physical discomfort of the eye that can occur from using a digital device.
Another result of texting is the eye condition known as “dry eye” (eyes stinging or burning due to lack of moisture). Dr. Richard Shugarman, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Miami, explains how staring closely at a screen for longer periods of time can exacerbate dryness. According to Dr. Shugarman, a person’s blink rate (the number of times per minute that the eyelid automatically closes) slows when looking at an object close to their face, resulting in less eye moisture. “You don’t have that sort of windshield-wiper effect of the tears…keeping a sharp, glossy, comfortable surface [on the eyes],” Dr. Shugarman explains.
So while texting keeps us connected with the world, it may also result in visual problems, eye strain and fatigue and even headaches. Is there a way to minimize these adverse effects?
Tips for Eye-Friendly Texting
- Use the “20-20-20 rule.” Look up from your phone every 20 minutes for 20 seconds, and focus on something at least 20 feet away. This will allow you to blink more often to refresh the moisture in your eyes, while at the same time relaxing the muscles in your eyes that are used for near vision.
- Hold your phone away from your face. The closer the object is that you are focusing on, the more your eyes have to work. Use the “Harmon Distance” (the distance between your elbow and the knuckle of your index finger) as a healthy guideline.
- Adjust the brightness and contrast of your screen. Adjust your phone’s screen settings to a point where you aren’t straining to read text messages.
- Display a larger text. Most cell phones have a setting to magnify onscreen text for those struggling to read smaller text types. Making the text larger can relieve eye strain caused by squinting.