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Should Adults Limit their Screen Time?

We hear a lot about setting limits for screen time when it comes to our kids. We know that too much screen time stunts their social lives, disrupts their development, and can even have a negative impact on the physical structures within their brains. What’s more, limiting screen time is good for kids’ vision, because time spent staring at a screen causes dry eyes as well as making eyes irritated and fatigue. If screens do that much harm to children, should we be considering all the time we as adults spend in front of a screen? Should adults practice what they preach and limit their screen time?

This is a hard thing to do because, for many adults, screen time is a necessary evil. We spend many hours of our day looking at a computer screen for work, and most of that time is non-negotiable. We also stay in touch with the world, both professionally and personally, through our phones. When the time you’re spending in front of a screen is optional, though, it may be smart to set some limits.

What do the experts say about adults and screen time? As you might expect, they acknowledge that it’s hard to set a hard limit. However, with the average adult spending eleven hours in front of a screen each day, it’s beneficial to our frontal lobes to set some limits.

Limiting screen time is also beneficial to your eyes. Just as in children, screen time causes digital eye strain for adults. It’s hard to quantify the long-term effects of this, but experts speculate that too much screen time might result in retinal damage. In fact, it may even raise a person’s risk of age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration.

So what’s the bottom line? It’s smart to create habits that limit screen time and protect your vision. Try to cut back on your recreational use of screens, and don’t use any blue light device within two hours of bedtime. At work, keep your monitor just below eye level and about 20-28 inches from your eyes, and try to reduce glare on your screen by managing the amount of natural light that hits the monitor. Play with your computer settings to find the right brightness, one that allows you to read without over-tiring your eyes. Additionally, take frequent breaks from staring at the screen. Use the 20-20-20 rule: look away from your computer every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, focusing on an object about 20 feet away. You might also consider purchasing glasses with blue light blockers, to protect your eyes from the negative effects of blue light. Following these guidelines isn’t as good as cutting back on screen time, but it will help your eyes stay healthy despite your focus on the screen.

Of course, following a healthy diet, wearing sunglasses any time you’re outdoors, getting regular exercise, and sleeping well are also important steps to take if you want to keep your eyes healthy. Perhaps the best way to protect your eyes, though, is to see an eye doctor regularly. Your eye doctor can assess any damage already done to your vision, and give you suggestions on how to keep your eyes healthy. For many eye issues, it’s crucial that you have a regular eye doctor, because early detection is the best way to prevent or slow the progression of eye damage. If you’re looking for an ophthalmologist or optometrist in Derry, Londonderry or Windham, Spindel Eye Associates is here for you. Celebrating thirty-five years of eye care, we proudly provide our patients with personalized eye care, using top of the line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.