Decrease Eyestrain by Changing Phone Display Settings

By Mary Grace Fries

I recently changed my phone display settings to inverted colors. Besides attempting to throw some variety into my life, I was inspired to make this change after reading an article that explained how adjusting phone screen settings to grayscale is better for your eye health. Switching to grayscale was a bit more extreme than I anticipated. I quickly learned any picture taken with my phone would turn out black and white…not ideal. I then did some research to explore different ways I could lower the strain digital screens take on my eyes.

As many college students know from experience, staring at phone and computer screens for long periods of time has numerous adverse health effects. In addition to creating opportunity for less physical activity, being glued to a digital screen can cause dry eyes and eyestrain. Phone manufacturers are aware of these consequences; however, they continue to make developments that increase people’s fascination with digital screens. Our brains are attracted to color, so companies use this fact to appeal to our senses to receive more attention and greater profit.

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Eyestrain can reduce a person’s ability to concentrate and make them feel tired. One of the most common causes of eyestrain is prolonged use of digital devices. Some reasons to explain this phenomenon include: blinking less while using computers, viewing digital screens with inadequate space between the screen and a person’s face, having a glare or reflection on the screen, and using devices with poor contrast between the text and background. The effects of eyestrain are not typically serious; although, studies on the effects of long-term exposure to blue light have yet to be conducted.

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With the rapid creation and spread of technological advancements, more people are exposed to artificial light at night. Research studies suggest this affects people’s sleep. It is known that light exposure decreases an individual’s secretion of melatonin, which influences circadian rhythms and therefore one’s ability to sleep deeply. Furthermore, inadequate sleep has been linked to increased risk for depression, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues.

Ideas for improving eye health (and therefore overall personal health) include adjusting phone display settings to yellow spectrum or inverted color scheme, lowering brightness, keeping ample space between your eyes and digital screens (around 20 inches), situating the center of computer monitors to be slightly lower than eye level (4–8 inches), and refraining from looking at bright screens 2–3 hours before going to bed.

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All in all, the best treatment for your eyes is to take breaks from looking at digital screens and limit screen exposure altogether. This way, you can achieve optimal eye health.

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