Is Your Living Room an Eye Health Culprit?

Little girl watching TV

Living Room Eye Health; Don’t Sit Too Close to The TV!

A favorite cartoon character shows up on TV  in your living room and instantly gets the attention of the youngest family member. The child attentively watches, with their nose practically touching the glowing LED. It’s as if the child is in a trance.

A frantic mom jumps to the rescue and pulls the child away, wondering how long the child’s eyes have been glued to the TV screen. Mom yells, “Don’t sit too close to the TV! You can damage your eyes.”

This is a common scenario in our home.

According to eye experts, TV in and by itself is not as damaging as we think it is. Watching TV at a close distance can cause eye strain, but does not cause permanent damage. However, your eyes do get tired as they constantly adjust to the screen glare. This can result in blurred vision. Below are some important things we can do to avoid eye fatigue caused by watching TV.

Adjust Your Lighting on Popcorn Night

Improper lighting in the living room is a large culprit when it comes to your family’s tired eyes. We tend to overlook this, as most assume that even minimal amounts of light are sufficient. However, sometimes adequate amounts of brightness still aren’t enough, especially when we do the same activities over longer periods of time.

Experts recommend having the ambient illumination similar to that of the TV screen. This helps reduce eyes strain during TV time as the screen can be too bright against a totally dark room. Some like to shine a backlight from behind the TV (bias lighting) for a more subtle brightness.

Does TV Size Matter?

Screen size has become a concern to most families as giant flat screens become popular. Have you tried watching a movie from the front row in a cinema? Similar eye discomfort due to an improper viewing angle can occur when we are sitting too close from a larger than life TV. Eye doctors recommend that we watch TV from a distance of five times the width of the TV screen. This may be challenging in small areas

Larger screens also means more light being emitted to our eyes. I think the best tip for comfortable viewing is to rest the eyes regularly while watching at an appropriate distance.

Block The Glare

Although the adults in the family usually do movie marathons at night, the younger kids love to watch during daytime. Avoid positioning the TV right in front of a window. However, if there isn’t much room to move furniture around, consider having blinds and curtains.  This also keeps the afternoon glare off the screen in case the windows are on the TV’s opposite side.

The 20-20-20 Rule Applies

We read about this rule all the time. I’ve reminded my kids to practice it as well. If you are watching TV or working on a computer, be conscious about having eye breaks every 20 minutes. Focus on an object 20 feet away (across the room but not back to the TV!) for 20 seconds. This isn’t too hard especially for me as I’m so used to having kids interrupt me every 20 seconds!

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