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Avoiding screen fatigue to keep your eyes healthy

Posted at 2:32 PM, Jan 05, 2021

You may have gotten a new gaming system, tablet or phone for Christmas, but experts warn that too much screen time could be doing more harm than you think.

Dr. Drew Oliveira, Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield says, "What we’re finding is people are spending increasing amounts of time looking at a TV screen, a computer terminal or even their smart phones."

Up to 13 hours a day, in fact. And that can be harmful to your eyes.

Oliveira says, "Screen fatigue – looking at a screen for a long period of time can lead to blurry vision, headaches, etcetera."

He recommends using the 20 20 20 rule to keep your eyes healthy. "Every 20 minutes you take a break. Look outside. At something 20 feet away, so you let your eyes rest a bit, and do that for at least 20 seconds."

Oliveira also says you also need to make sure the screen is in the correct position to keep you healthy and safe. "You want it eye level and make sure it is far enough away from you. You don’t want to be too close to the screen but you don’t want to be too far – 18-20 inches..."

He also says blue light can be a problem. "In the evening, when our brains think we should go to sleep, and yet we have blue light coming from our smart phones and our tablets, that are actually making our brain feel like it’s the middle of the day and we need to stay awake."

Oliveira recommends that you stop using your phone or tablet at least two hours before going to bed to avoid being overstimulated.

As far as kids and their screens, he suggests parents set timers. "Make them take a break between maybe video games or if you’re reading an ebo-ok, maybe take a break between reading a couple of chapters on an e-book and reading a couple chapters in a regular book."

Fore more health tips as you navigate the new year, visit