Everybody knows that spending too much time in front of digital screens can be bad for your eyes. But according to a 2013 poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Google, Canadian smartphone owners said they spent 86% of their free time in front of screens – up to 7 hours a day. It’s unlikely these numbers have gone down in the meantime and the impact on our eyes is hard to overstate. Focusing on the near range for hours at a time puts a huge strain on your eye muscles, forcing them to work tremendously hard. The result of this ocular exhaustion is Computer Vision Syndrome: irritated eyes, dryness, fatigue and blurred vision as well as neck and back pain.
While we can probably all take a break from Netflix, if you work in an office it may not be as easy to get away from your digital screen’s constant glow. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. eyeCare is a Google Chrome extension that helps remind you to give your eyes a break based on the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, take your eyes off of your screen and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. How does it work?
You can install the eyeCare app here. From the Chrome web store, click “Add extension” at the top of the page. Once the extension is installed you’ll see an eye icon in the extensions bar at the top of the browser whenever you’re online. Simply click the eye to turn on reminders – the default is set to go off every 20 minutes, but you can make it more or less frequent using the settings. You can customize the alert using desktop notifications and sound notifications. When your reminder goes off, simply follow the instruction to look away from your screen, or click the link to get specific exercises designed to help your eyes recover from their strained state.
For more tips on avoiding Computer Vision Syndrome or to learn about lenses specifically designed for computer and digital device use, book an appointment with an FYidoctors optometrist near you.