Tips on Reducing Digital Eyestrain from Handheld Devices

For many of us, phones, tablets & phablets are the norm. Many of us work all day at a laptop or a computer, but almost all of us also use handheld smartphones or the like, both for work and at home. If you're like me, the tiny little white screen can actually be uncomfortable to look at, especially in low lighting. Here are some tips to help:

1) Enable Night Light (Android) or Night Shift (Apple). This feature changes your screen to allow less "blue light", which is annoying, causes eyestrain, interferes with sleep patterns, and may even be harmful to your eye. It turns your screen amber or "redder" during times of low light. You set your own custom timer. I have my Night Light set to be on from 7pm-7am. If your OS doesn't have this feature, you can download f.lux.

2) Reduce your screen brightness. This one is easy. Use the slider in settings. I find that "auto screen brightness" is not bright enough outdoors and too bright to reduce eyestrain  in low lighting

3) Download an extension for your browser that allows for "night mode", which is a black background with white text. This is much easier to view in low lighting, and may even be higher contrast. I use an extension called "Night Mode Pro" for Opera and Yandex browsers, but Google Chrome and Apple Safari both have night mode extensions, just search for them and install.

4) Raise the ambient room lighting in your environment. Don't view your device in total room darkness. It won't damage your eyes to do so, but it will make everything more difficult to view on your device.

5) Remove point light sources from your view. Your device is back-lit, it does not need a lamp beside you or in front of you. Having a light bulb be visible in your view also won't harm you, but isn't conducive to comfortable viewing.

6) Consider a "blue blocking" filter on your next pair of glasses. Results are mixed as to whether this helps in practice, but the science is sound and it couldn't hurt. I have it on my glasses (came with my anti-reflection coating with no charge) and generally it's not a terrible idea to do for yourself what the eye doctor does for himself/herself.

7) Stop using your device and stop your children from using their devices 30min before bedtime. This one is difficult, even for me, but studies show that "overstimulation" of retinal receptors just before bedtime, especially with blue light, can hinder your falling asleep and reduce the quality of sleep.


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