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Eye strain – finding balance in the digital age

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In today’s fast-paced world, mobile phones have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. From checking emails through to scrolling social media platforms and messaging friends, our devices keep us connected and informed. Our eyes are constantly glued to screens, be it smartphones, computers, or tablets. This widespread digital dependence has brought with it a common problem – eye strain. Understanding its causes, knowing how to prevent it, and learning how to treat it are essential in maintaining our visual health.

Causes of Eye Strain from Mobile Phones

  • Spending long hours glued to our mobile screens without breaks strains the eye muscles.
  • Blue light emitted by mobile phones interferes with our circadian rhythm, disrupting sleep patterns and causing eye discomfort.
  • We tend to blink less frequently while engrossed on our phones, leading to dry eyes and irritation.
  • Reading small text on bright screens forces our eyes to work harder, causing strain.

You may just feel your eyes are ‘tired’ without realising you are suffering from eye strain. According to Mayo Clinic some everyday tell-tale signs that can help you to spot eyestrain include soreness and blurred vision. Others include:

  • Burning or itching eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Double vision
  • Headache
  • Sore neck, shoulders or back
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open.

Source https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eyestrain/symptoms-causes/syc-20372397

Whilst using your mobile phone may be causing eye strain there are useful tools on your mobile that can help, so use your screen time wisely.

Listening to information rather than watching is a great way to give your eyes a rest.

During National Eye Care Week the Vision Matters podcast was launched, you can listen to the episode here https://www.visionmatters.org.uk/home/podcast

Although we are focussing on eye strain in this article, it is also worth thinking about what else our eyes tell us. Eyes are often referred to as the windows to your health, highlighting health issues like diabetes. There is a great short video from the National Geographic channel on You Tube that talks about how our eyes are not just about vision. You can watch the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPAbANevTqM

Getting free help from Bupa

If you think you may be suffering from eye strain, or are concerned it could be something else, don’t forget you can use the Bupa Blua Health App (which is included with your PMI policy) to book an appointment with a GP online, this service is available 24 hours a day 365 days of the year. You can discuss your eye health and symptoms.

The Bupa Blua Health App also has a useful symptom checker function, for you to check for yourself before talking to a GP. It’s worth looking through the symptoms that are worrying you as they can also point to some underlying health conditions that may need medical treatment in certain cases.

Bupa has a couple of great articles about vision online and you can read them here https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/eyes-sight#vision

Useful tips to reduce eye strain.

  • Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This relaxes eye muscles strained by close-up screen use.
  • Reduce screen brightness and use blue light filters to minimize the impact of blue light emissions, available on most smartphones.
  • Increase the text size on your phone settings to reduce the strain caused by squinting at small fonts.
  • Hold your phone at least an arm’s length away to reduce the stress on your eyes.
  • Schedule regular eye examinations to monitor your eye health and update your prescription glasses if necessary.
  • Practice eye exercises to strengthen eye muscles. Simple exercises like rolling your eyes clockwise and then counterclockwise can be helpful.
  • Applying a warm compress over closed eyelids can soothe strained eyes.

You should speak to a doctor if the tips above don’t help. Don’t forget if you can’t get to speak to your own GP as quickly as you’d like you can access a GP 24 hours a day every day of the year on the Bupa Blua Health App.

In conclusion

While mobile phones have undoubtedly made our lives more convenient, responsible usage is key to mitigating the risks associated with eye strain. By being aware of the causes, adopting healthy habits, and seeking appropriate treatment when needed, we can strike a balance between staying connected and preserving our precious eyesight in the digital age. Let’s prioritise our eye health to enjoy the benefits of technology without compromising our well-being.

Legal disclaimer

This information was published by Eduhealth’s Content Team and any information is generic and if applicable original sources of information are listed.

The information contained on this page and in any third party websites referred to on this page is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment.

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