• 5 Important Tips for Better Eye Health in a Digital World

    Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, is a licensed VSP Vision Careprovider based in Tampa, Florida specializing in childrenís vision, computer vision, and orthokeratology. You can visit his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.
    In attempting to sum up the world in 2010, one word comes to mind:connected. Everywhere we go we carry devices that keep us connected to something important to us. Be it a sleek new tablet letting you share photos with the person helping load your groceries, or a smartphone making sure you donít miss that late night e-mail from a colleague; we are now constantly connected to the world around us, more than ever before.
    Weíve become dependent on these digital devices to survive both professionally and personally, and with the holiday season now upon us and digital devices topping most of our gift wish lists, the amount of time we spend with these gadgets will only increase. Yet many of us forget to consider two devices we are naturally equipped with that keep us more connected to the world than anything else: our eyes. Consumers often donít think about the impact digital devices might have on their vision, and it can be to the detriment of not just their health, but also productivity.
    In an effort to help consumers keep their eye health in mind this winter while enjoying these amazing products, weíve put together five tips for creating a vision-healthy environment for digital device usage.

    1. Customize Your Environment

    You can adjust your environment when using digital devices to promote healthier eyes. If possible, use a large monitor or screen magnifier to reduce eye strain. Make sure your chair is close to your computer and you are sitting in a chair with adequate lower-back support. Position your chair so that you are comfortable.
    Each person has a preference for his or her chair, so take some time to find whatís best for you. Making sure youíre comfortable before you start using a device will decrease the amount of stress you put on your eyes trying to find the best viewing angle.

    2. Think About Lighting

    For extended reading, change your monitor settings to a reflective lighting scheme. But donít only think about your computer lighting.
    Good room lighting isnít just flattering. Itís also healthy for your eyes. So, keep bright lighting overhead to a minimum. Too much lighting overexposes and irritates the eyes, while too little causes the eyes to strain in order to see. Keep your desk lamp shining on your desk, not you. Try to keep window light off to the side, rather than in front or behind you. Use blinds and get a glare screen. Position the computer screen to reduce reflections from windows or overhead lights.

    3. Adjust Your Reading Angle

    Adjust the screen so you look at it slightly downward and are about 24 to 28 inches away. The center should be about 4 to 6 inches below your eyes. Also, make sure your screen is big enough and with just the right brightness and contrast so youíre not straining to see text or images clearly. Adjust the screen settings to where they are comfortable for you.

    4. Magnify Text on Screen

    For those with permanently reduced vision, magnifying the text and images on your device will help you avoid straining your eyes from squinting. Almost every device can be adjusted to display larger text, and for those with compromised vision, this can make reading much easier.

    5. Blink and Take Frequent Breaks

    Devices are set up for virtually nonstop work ó but you arenít a machine. You need to take breaks to recharge, and so do your eyes. Use the ď20-20-20 rule.Ē Itís easy to remember: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and look at something 20 feet away. And donít forget to blink! Blinking washes your eyes in naturally therapeutic tears. If you regularly wear glasses, also make sure you have proper lenses for the computer.
    Follow the above tips, and you can enjoy your slick new technology without worrying about consequences to your eye health, productivity and overall peace of mind.

    Source: Mashable