Summit Eye Center Blog

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Tips to Minimize Eyestrain during March Madness

March Madness copy

March Madness is upon us. Many will be spending a great deal of time over the next few weeks cheering on their favorite team or simply enjoying the nearly nonstop basketball action on TV.

It has long been a concern of people, especially our mothers, that watching too much TV was bad for our eyes. Studies have shown that watching TV causes no damage to our eyes. A person may experience some eye fatigue or eyestrain, but no physical damage to our eyes or eyesight.

What can you do to minimize eye fatigue and eyestrain?

Positioning can be helpful. Although sitting too close to the TV doesn’t hurt the eyes, it is usually more comfortable for a person to sit back from the TV. Most eye professionals agree that the best viewing distance while watching TV is the distance that feels most comfortable to you. If you need a more defined distance, a general rule of thumb is to sit at a distance that is 5 times the distance from the screen as the screen is wide. So, if your TV is 40 inches wide, the optimal viewing distance is 200 inches or about 16 feet from the screen. This would require a pretty large room for most TV’s.

The positioning of the TV in relation to where you are sitting is another thing to consider. It is advisable to position your screen at eye level or just below eye level. This eliminates the possibility of straining your eye muscles or neck by being forced to constantly look up.

Consciously blinking our eyes can also lessen eyestrain during extended periods of watching TV. Every time we blink our eyes, we are redistributing the tear film across the surface of the eye. This maximizes both eye comfort and the quality of our vision. In a normal setting the average person blinks about 15 times per minute. When focusing on something like a TV, our blink rate can decrease by 50-75%. This results in dry eye symptoms such as fluctuating vision, feeling like there is something in the eyes and watery eyes.

Another trick to minimize eyestrain is to make sure there is some a low level of ambient light in the room with the TV. If you have a bright TV in a dark room, this can lead to some eyestrain.

We hope these tips help make your March Madness experience more enjoyable. Good luck to your team as they pursue their “One Shining Moment”.

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