Dry eyes? Your smartphone may be to blame

Most screen time used to be logged at the office.

Now smartphones and tablets can extend texting, typing and tweeting well beyond office hours and into the evening, for some, right up until the moment they fall asleep.

Without the proper habits, focusing on screens big and small, can take a toll.

“What do we do when we look at a computer? We don't blink. And we just get so entranced and we're focused, that the eyes don't, and the regular blink rate is decreased,” said optometrist Alan Glazier. “So by doing that, our eyes start to dry out.”

To avoid things like dry eyes and headaches, Glazier reminds patients to take a break, whether at the office, or on the go.

“Every twenty minutes, take a 20 second break and look 20 feet or further away from you. Twenty feet is where your eyes start to relax, and by doing that, you restore a lot of the focus strain might be contributing to the headaches, the strain, and/or the dry eyes.“

He also recommends discussing digital habits with your eye doctor in case adjustments need to be made.

Limit device use. Avoid that mindless scrolling through Twitter or the web.

And keep mobile devices at a safe distance. The recommendation is at least the distance between your elbow and your wrist.

Also, enlarge fonts if you need to, and adjust screen settings like contrast and brightness to make it easier on the eyes.