Health & Wellness

Nurses: How to Relieve Tired or Stressed Eyes

The Trusted Team
December 18, 2020
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Whether you are in nursing school or currently working in another position, you are likely clocking in extensive amounts of screen time to carry out daily tasks. Especially considering the pandemic, many classes or clinical visits have now shifted to online, causing nurses today to rely on digital devices now more than ever. Although technology has helped us make many advancements in the medical field, there is a certain day-to-day health consideration that nurses should keep in mind—blue light exposure. 

If you’ve experienced tired or stressed eyes, this article is for you. Read below to learn more about what blue light can do to the eyes and how you can best protect yourself from this type of light.

Where Does Blue Light Come From?

Recently, blue light has been a hot topic as we continue to integrate digital devices into our everyday lives. Blue light is a type of ray found on the spectrum. Although this type of light is also found in natural sunlight, our digital devices emit large amounts of artificial blue light that has been found to have impacts on the skin and eyes.

Due to the nature of blue light consisting of short wavelengths at a higher energy, this makes it stronger and harder for our eyes to naturally filter on their own. If you think about all the types of digital devices and screens you use on a daily basis, there could be a strong correlation to some of the side effects of blue light exposure.

A prominent effect of too much blue light exposure is digital eye strain. This vision problem comes as a result of screen time reducing contrast and therefore fatiguing, blurring, and drying out the eyes over an extended period of time. Digital eye strain can even lead to problems focusing and headaches. 

Additionally, blue light reaches the retina once passing through the cornea and lens. Long-term damage to the retina can lead to much more serious problems, such as age-related macular degeneration

Eye health is particularly significant for anyone in the nursing field to invest in due to the nature of the importance of detail within the job. Additionally, long shifts mean working with less sleep, therefore fighting off other factors, like blue light, is an easy way to preserve your eyes and combat unnecessarily draining yourself.

woman looking into camera closeup of her eye blue light glasses

Tools for Nurses to Utilize When It Comes to Eye Health:

Fortunately, as blue light awareness has grown there have been specific tools developed that nurses can consider investing in. These tools can help balance out the effects of blue light exposure with their necessary amount of duties that require screen time.

Blue-Light Glasses

Special blue light filtering lenses (that can be added to existing prescription eyeglasses or worn as lenses on their own) is a simple way to provide immediate protection even to those with other vision impairments. Often called computer glasses, these lenses have a special material coating that blocks some of the exposure you would normally get from staring at a screen.

These days, wearing blue-light blocking glasses actually makes a lot of sense for nurses, as they are spending more and more time looking at computer screens (whether it’s EHRs at the hospital or telemedicine visits from home).

Smartphone Applications

Special apps, like Twighlight or Night Owl, have been designed to offer smartphone users the ability to adjust the brightness and hues of their phone screens to help give their eyes a break. You can even set up these types of display modes for certain times of day, which can be especially helpful for nurses working night shifts or long hours without time away from a screen.

Screen Filters

Anti-blue light screen protectors are available for an assortment of technological devices. They work to shield blue light and are a convenient way to block blue light without having to think about it after the application of the screen protector.

Other Eye Health Best Practices

It’s no secret that nurses’ jobs come with stress and high time demand. Although your job involves caring for others, be sure that you are also looking after yourself, so you are able to perform and feel your best. For your eyes, there are a few daily habits that can help preserve your eyesight and keep you feeling fresh while working.

Particularly if you struggle with eye strain, consider incorporating the 20-20-20 rule of thumb into your heavy screen days. This eye exercise suggests that individuals should look at another object at least 20 feet away from their screen for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes of time spent looking at the computer. For nurses, this type of quick exercise is a great way to give your eyes a break without having to leave a designated area.

There are also other factors that play into your overall eye health like good nutrition, staying hydrated, and proper sleep. Dehydration can leave your eyes feeling dry and overworked. Be sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day and getting adequate sleep to help your body and eyes recover for the next day ahead.

Although your job consists of helping others, use a few of these tools and habits to look after yourself and your eyes. As blue light exposure can be especially present in the nursing community, be sure to give your eyes the much-needed break they deserve!

Maybe It’s Not Just Your Eyes That Are Tired

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