5 Tips to Keeping Your Eyes Happy When Reading on Electronic Devices

The simple act of reading is an entirely different animal today than it was a decade ago. Now, most of what we read is on a screen—either one as small as our smart phone or on a larger computer monitor.  Personally, I spend hours every day reading more articles with small text on electronic devices than I do reading anything printed on regular paper.

Sometimes, I feel the impact! My contacts will feel dry or my eyes will feel tired.  I try to remember some of the rules for screen engagement—like taking breaks, but I’ve often already tired my eyes out before I reach that point.

This made me wonder…is there a recommended way to keep our eyes healthy while we read from our Kindles and iPads?

Here’s what I found out:

1)    Lighting still matters.  Perhaps not for the reasons it did when we read actual newspapers and paper books, but you’ll want to make sure that your lighting doesn’t cause a glare on your screen that could increase your eye strain.  Experts recommend turning to a 90-degree angle away from your light source (like a window) so your eyes can relax a bit.

2)    Don’t go dark.  Some doctors say that although some contrast makes things easier on your eyes too much contrast (like reading from your phone’s screen in a dark room) is harder on your periphery vision.

3)    Adjust that Screen.  On most devices you have the option to set up your screen’s brightness.  Find the level that is most comfortable for you and, chances are, that’s the one that is easiest on your eyesight.

4)    Take a break.  Use the same rules that you use if you work from a computer all day– find a point far away (preferably out a window) and focus on it for 60 seconds.  Try to take eyesight breaks like this at least once an hour.  Finding a spot far away to focus on will give your near-vision a break while your distance vision gets a chance to “exercise.”

5)    Reading glasses are cool.  You may want to talk to your optometrist about getting a pair of reading glasses to use even if your reading is primarily blogs, Facebook or your Twitter feed.  Your eyes don’t care what you are reading but, if you are spending several hours looking at words on a screen, you’re liable to feel the effects on your eyes.

Ask your America’s Best optometrist what he or she would recommend to keep your eyes happy while you read electronically.

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