Striking a Balance on Screen Time

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Whether we like it or not, we need our screens.

Due to a combination of modern times and current circumstances, the simple fact of the matter is that you can’t get away from screens. Be a computer, a phone, a TV, whatever; we need our news, we need to work, we need something to watch. The obvious downside to that is that staring at a screen all day isn’t especially good for you. Now, let’s just put this out there: a lot of studies on this matter show pretty overblown results. You’re eyeballs aren’t going to catch fire if you’re looking at a screen all day. But overblown though they may be, it is still a good idea to try and limit your and your family’s screen time in whatever little way you can, or at least alleviate its effects on your body.

If you’re working from home and know you’re going to be spending a lot of time in front of a screen whether you want to or not, keep some eye-healthy tools nearby. Namely, a bottle of eye drops and a pair of blue light glasses. For eye drops, regular over the counter stuff is fine. If your eyes are feeling dry and itchy, give yourself a drop in each. Blue light glasses filter out the blue light screens produce, which makes it easier on your eyes. You don’t need a prescription for these, you can get them on Amazon. Bear in mind, though, some people have weird reactions to blue light glasses, so if you’re feeling dizzy or nauseous, take them off.

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For the rest of the day, assuming you don’t have any non-screen activities you can do, take little steps to reduce the glare on your eyes. Many social media sites like Twitter and YouTube have a dark mode that turns their white backgrounds black, which makes them a little less intense. If you’re in the mood for entertainment, then in lieu of shows or movies, try a podcast. Put on a talk show or radio play, get a pillow, and close your eyes for a while.

As much as folks talk about the dangers of screen time, the reality is that we need our screens. But just because we need them doesn’t mean we need to destroy ourselves.