Combating Screen Fatigue
Written by Learning Hub Ambassadors Ven Talley and Zahra AbdullahiMay 1, 2023
As students, we seek out information to feed our minds constantly. Part of that process is checking our phones and staring at our computers for hours on end, whether it be for studying, hours-long Zoom sessions, or looking for what next steps to take in your career. All these habits and necessities can really wear down the health and well-being of our eyes. This can lead to computer vision syndrome, migraines, and can even permanently damage the way we process light. Screen fatigue is real, but how do we take care of our eyes while still putting our best foot forward in our academics?
Short-term, follow the 20-20-20 rule which keeps your eyes flexible and healthy. Every 20 minutes while you’re working endlessly on your final or your dissertation or your thesis, look at an object 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. It takes those full 20 seconds for your eyes to fully relax, so don’t get back to the grind too quickly. Blink often. Better yet, get up and move. Stretch and find the small exercises that work for you. If you don’t know where to even begin, a good place to start and find small doable warm-ups is through FitnessBlender on YouTube. All their content is completely free to try for yourself, ranging from body-weight circuits to stretches to self-paced cardio! Though it’s cliché and may seem obvious, drinking water also helps. Your eyes need hydration just as much as any part of your body. Above all else, its important to stay disciplined in practicing these small breaks. The only person who suffers from you skipping out on them is you, so take advantage of their simplicity and bake them into any schedule.
Diet can also boost your eye-related health. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends kale, salmon, oranges, black-eyed peas, and eggs all for their antioxidant properties and fatty acids that can reduce the risk of cataracts and related eye problems. Other dark greens can work just as well as if that’s not your cup of kale!
Another tip to combat screen fatigue is one proven to be helpful... adjusting your screen's brightness and contrast settings. If your screen is too bright, it can cause eye strain and fatigue. Apple was able to release a feature called night shift mode, this mode is able to protect your eyes at night by reducing the amount of blue light your phone admits. This was proven to help people improve their quality of sleep. Maintaining your screen time is so important, it will help you keep focus and motivation on completing your task at hand.
Excessive screen time can cause physical and mental health issues. By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you can help protect your eyes and reduce the physical and mental strain associated with excessive screen time. Remember, taking care of yourself should always be a priority, and these simple steps can help you do just that. Truly, taking care of your well-being overall helps you more in the long run than running on empty, directly into the ground. It isn’t contradictory to your goals but downright necessary to treat yourself. Many of us have finals and projects as we head into the last bit of the semester that we feel take priority over our personhood and health but those very projects may suffer when you’re not taking a step away when you need to. People will be proud of you when you finish what you need to in due time, but you can allow yourself the opportunity to be proud of your small victories as well. That can be as simple as taking care of your eyes every 20 minutes or so.