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How to avoid eye strain when using your iPhone

Let’s face it, we all love our iPhones and can’t help staring longingly for hours at their beautiful screens. However, whether we’re using them for work or for pleasure it’s all too easy to end up over doing it. Studies have shown many of us suffer from eye strain brought on by prolonged screen time. So, how can you make using your iPhone easier on your eyes? Well, Gadget Cover is here to help with our handy ‘How to’ guide to avoiding eye strain.

With today’s top-of-the-range iPhones costing serious money, it’s no wonder we keep a watchful eye on them. How else can you guard against theft, loss, breakdown or damage? By having specialist iPhone insurance of course! Give Gadget Cover a call and give your eyes a rest from lookout duty.

IPhone in girls hands

Eyestrain and iPhone use

Many of us spend hours of every day staring at some kind of electronic screen. From desktop computers and laptops for work to smartphones and tablets for keeping up to date with friends and family, there’s always plenty of reasons to check our screens. Indeed in Ofcom’s report on digital dependency the telecommunications regulator found people in the UK now check their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes of the waking day!

And when you get home, the obsession doesn’t stop. No matter how good your intentions, you’ll soon find yourself back at the screen. Whether helping kids with their homework, or catching up on your latest Netflix series, it’s easy to put in another hour or two of screen time before bed.

But while everyone appreciates all their smartphone can do, some of us feel overloaded. Those hours spent glued to our screens might not seem like a big deal at the time, but your poor eyes will pay a price in the long run.

Despite all the wonderful technology contained in iPhones, staring at them all day is much harder on your eyes than other activities. For example, compared to a printed page, your screen’s pixelated images won’t be as crisp and the contrast won’t be as good. The constant glare is also tiring for your eyes. These problems are made even worse for people with existing eye problems who are more likely to suffer eye strain from excessive screen use.

Not sure if too much time staring at your iPhone is ruining your eyes? According to eye experts VisionExpress these are just some of the common symptoms of eye strain:

  • Soreness – That persistent glare can be a real problem for eyes. If screens are too bright or the lighting isn’t right, you’ll soon experience a dull and painful eye strain.
  • Dryness and discomfort – Screens often stop you blinking as much as you should. To keep our eyes healthy and hydrated we need to blink often. If you don’t, your eyes will dry out and become red and painful.
  • Blurred, hazy vision – Being fixed on your screen for too long will cause blurred or double vision if you’re not careful.
  • Sore neck and back – Staring down at your iPhone’s small screen for a few hours will wreak havoc with your posture and cause your neck and shoulders to hunch.
  • Frequent headaches – All those hours spent staring at tiny pixels can lead to headaches and even migraines.

Are you suffering from any of these symptoms? If so, it’s worth considering whether your iPhone could be the culprit.

Fortunately for you and your iPhone, the solution to screen-related eye strain doesn't require any extreme measures. All you need do is to make some small changes to your tech-use habits. Just follow some of our tips, taking the strain off your eyes couldn’t be easier!

Iphone

  1. Blink, blink, and blink some more

You may not realise it but you blink a lot less when using your iPhone. According to researchers our blink rate drops by a third when we view our screens. So, simply blinking more frequently can significantly reduce eye strain. But because blinking isn't something we do consciously, trying to up blink frequency can be more difficult than it sounds.

Every 20 minutes, try blink slowly 10 times, as if shutting your eyes for sleep. Using refreshing eye drops can also help freshen your tired eyes.

  1. Reduce glare

Glare from windows and overly bright lights is one of the biggest causes of screen-related eye strain. Reduce glare by positioning yourself away from windows or lights when using your iPhone. Or consider adjusting your curtains or replacing bright bulbs with something a little dimmer.

If that’s too much hassle then installing anti-glare screen protection will not only cut out annoying reflective glare but it will also protect your screen from damage. And fend off those pesky fingerprints. Always buy one designed for your specific iPhone model to ensure the right fit. For example, for the iPhone 11, Apple recommends Belkin anti-glare screen protection costing around £15. If you want to see what else is on offer when it comes to the best iPhone screen protectors then read our recent buyer’s guide.

  1. Take regular breaks

While it might feel scary to take a break from your beloved iPhone it really will benefit your eyes in the long run. And if you do this by standing up and taking a short walk then it’s something the rest of your body will appreciate, too.

The hardest part is remembering to pull yourself away from whatever it is that’s caught your attention. Try a reminder app like Stand Up! or Time Out to remind you to take regular breaks.

If you’re into fitness then some trackers can remind you to get moving, as does the Apple Watch. Or you could keep things simple by asking your iPhone itself to remind you when it's break time.

For those who can’t bear to be away from their iPhone, remember the 20/20/20 rule. The idea is that every 20 minutes you spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. Even this short and sweet break can be enough to reduce eye fatigue.

  1. Exercise your eyes

If you’re looking to soothe digital eye strain then VisionDirect has six easy eye exercises that even the most avid iPhone user can make time for. Our favourite is the DIY eye massage. They advise you to put on some relaxing sounds, dim the lights and close your eyes. Then softly place your fingertips on your closed eyelids and make gentle circular movements. And repeat. Very relaxing!

  1. Make your screen eye-friendly

Adjusting your screen settings so it’s not too bright or too dim is an easy and quick fix. Simply go into your iPhone’s settings and tweak your screen brightness so it’s similar to the light level in the room around you. To make life easier you can enable Auto Brightness on your iPhone so it automatically adjusts the brightness for the best viewing. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Display and Text Size > Auto Brightness.

You can also make text larger, change the screen resolution, apply colour filters, reduce colour intensity, and adjust the contrast. From web content and email messages to calendar appointments and notifications, these tweaks will make everything much easier to read. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Display and Text Size and explore the different screen adjustments available.

  1. Keep your screen sparkly clean

Keeping your screen clean and free from dirt, dust, and smudges will ensure text and images will look as crisp as possible. Invest in a screen cleaning cloth and make a quick wipe down part of your regular iPhone routine. Always use a dry cloth and never spray liquid cleaner onto your precious screen.

As well as keeping your screen free from grime you’ll also want to avoid any scratches, cracks or damage to the screen surface. Unlike some insurers, iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover also covers minor screen cracks. And if the iPhone’s screen can’t be repaired, we’ll just replace it.

  1. Hold your iPhone further away

If you’re reading this on your iPhone then there's a very good chance you have it too close to your face. Many people hold their iPhones only around 8 inches from their eyes, that’s much too close. Try to hold your iPhone about 16 to 18 inches away. It may feel strange at first but you’ll soon get used to it.

And if holding your iPhone further away makes it too hard to read then adjust the font size and screen settings until it's comfortable to read.

  1. Avoid blue light

According to Which? the consumer champion, experts are clear that the blue light produced by digital screens such as your iPhone’s can cause eye strain and make it harder to fall asleep. The blue light from the screen suppresses the release of melatonin, the natural sleep hormone, that tells your body it’s bedtime. So, taking a last look at Pinterest or answering a quick WhatsApp message will delay your sleep time and lead to a disrupted sleep pattern. And with Ofcom saying that 37% of adults check their phones five minutes before lights out, rising to 60% of under-35s, this is a national problem.

Fortunately, Apple is here to help and has a number of built-in features you can use to reduce the amount of blue light emitted. And help make screen time a bit more comfortable in the evening.

First up is a setting called Night Shift. This uses the iPhone clock and geolocation to determine when sunset is in your location. It then automatically uses warmer colours on your screen rather than those stark bright whites. It returns to normal at sunrise the next morning.

You can turn it on by going to Settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift. You can also adjust colour temperature and set a schedule for Night Shift. By default it turns on from sunset to sunrise. Another way to turn it on and off is to open the Control Centre and press and hold the Brightness control icon.

Another setting to explore is Dark Mode which gives the screen a dark background rather than a light one. It’s essentially an all-black version that makes everything easier to see in low-light environments. Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Dark. As with Night Shift, you can also access it from the Control Centre and set up a schedule for Dark Mode.

  1. Arrange regular eye tests

The NHS recommends most people get a comprehensive eye test every two years to detect eye problems before they get worse. If you're at all concerned about eye strain before your next sight test is due, you should visit your optometrist and discuss. You could need glasses or a new prescription, and not wearing the right lenses can make eye strain worse.

  1.   Reduce screen time

Okay, this isn’t the most popular option but it’s worth considering, particularly if there are children in your household. If you and your family want to reduce screen time, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health offer some practical tips to support you in this.

If your children sometimes use your gadget then iPhone insurance from Gadget Cover can also cover your immediate family. Give us a call and check who is covered by your policy.

Girl on phone in cafe

Protect your iPhone with Gadget Cover

Whatever model of iPhone you have, it’s well worth trying at least some of these tips to reduce eye strain. After all, while Apple makes great products, they aren’t perfect and accidents can happen. To help you Gadget Cover’s team are always searching for great iPhone insurance policies suitable for every device and budget.

Our policies offer protection against accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage as standard. For an extra premium, your iPhone can be covered against loss, too.

Additional benefits include family cover to extend protection to your immediate family, worldwide cover to include use of your iPhone abroad, and e-Wallet cover up to £500.

For gadget insurance from the specialists, go to Gadget Cover today.

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