You only really meant to read a quick text message that came in on your smartphone. But the message was from your daughter, telling you how well your granddaughter did at her dance recital. Then there was a Facebook link, your own Facebook page, and your email — and by then, things were starting to get a bit blurry.
You don’t have to sacrifice healthy vision to enjoy your portable device! Just follow these five tips to keep those Facebook pictures (and that good book you’re reading on your Kindle) looking sharp and clear.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Anshel, noted optometrist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Eyes: A Guide to Natural, Effective, and Safe Relief of Common Eye Disorders, when we look at portable screens, we often squint to get a better look, and consequently, we blink only half as much as normal. This can cause your eyes to get dry and scratchy. Just like your yoga instructor keeps reminding you to breathe, don’t forget to open your eyes wide and blink occasionally, too.
The Rule of 10/10/10
Every ten minutes or so, pry those peepers away from that tiny screen and gaze at an object at least ten feet away for at least ten seconds. This lets your eyes refocus and can help relax them.
Enjoy the Landscape
Most portable devices offer you the choice to read the screen in portrait mode (long side top to bottom) or in landscape mode (long side left to right). Landscape mode will require more scrolling to work your way down that Facebook page, but the text will be larger and easier on the eyes. Usually all you need to do is turn the device a quarter turn to enable landscape mode. If this doesn’t work, check your device’s settings — you may have inadvertently locked portrait mode in place.
Protect Your Eyes and Your Screen
If glare is your problem, consider a pair of computer readers designed to help minimize eye strain caused by too much screen time. A screen protector can also help. These clear, durable films not only help cut the glare, they can also prevent that annoying scratch in the corner of your screen that keeps drawing your attention away from your reading.
Automatic vs. Manual
Most smartphones and tablets adjust the backlight automatically, but this may not always give you the correct level. Check your device’s settings menu for a brightness control, and consider raising the setting in a bright environment and lowering it while reading in bed at night. You may also want to scale up your font size. Again, this will lead to more scrolling, but your eyes will thank you!