Does Screen Time Affect Your Mental Health?

| Lifestyle Tips

Human Body & Screens

While humans have always stared at the things around us to learn more about our world, digital screens have changed how we do it. Now, not only do we observe or learn what we want, but with digital screens, there is often music, bright flashing colors, and quick movement on the screen. It’s the over-exposure to these features that can produce what health professionals call Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

Man studies computer screen at desk.

The leading causes of CVS are prolonged screen time, an unsafe environment for watching screens such as in a dark room or where a screen is too close, and a lack of protective eyewear. Symptoms of CVS are as follows.

  • Eye irritation (Dry eyes, itchy eyes, red eyes)
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Neck aches
  • Muscle fatigue

When it comes to screens, too much time can be a bad thing after all, and we must be sure to do our best to enjoy screens responsibly. This can be challenging since screens are such a major part of regular life and achieving a healthy balance can be difficult.

Practical Tips To Relieve Screen-related Symptoms

Instead of simply cutting back, let’s look at some practical ways you can take care of your physical and mental health.

Reducing Glare:

Glare is the reflection of light off your screen that makes it hard to see the screen clearly. Glare can be caused by sunlight on your screen or it may be caused by indoor light, such as overhead and task lamps. Simple changes can help lessen glare and reduce strain on your eyes.

Increase distance from screens:

By moving your computer screen about an arm’s reach away from where you sit you can greatly reduce any strain. The center of the monitor should be about four to eight inches lower than the eyes to allow the neck to relax and to lessen the exposed surface area of the eye, which will reduce dryness and itching.

Step Away:

Give your body frequent breaks from the computer to reduce eye and muscle fatigue. Even a mini-break can help, start by looking away from the screen every fifteen minutes to blink and rest your eyes.

Schneck Can Help

Reach out to Schneck if you need help coping with the symptoms of CVS. Our team covers a range of specialties to combat CVS.

Schneck Professional Building on Schneck Medical Center campus

Incorporate Screen-Free Activities

Reducing screen-related symptoms can also be achieved by incorporating screen-free activities into your daily life. Usually, we use screen time as a way to entertain ourselves, learn new skills or catch up with loved ones. So if you’re looking for screen-free ways to continue those habits, here are a few simple ways to spend your time that do not involve screens.

Audio Books

Just because you’re trying to reduce your screen time doesn’t mean you have to quit technology altogether. An audiobook or podcast is a great way to entertain yourself, while you do other things like going for a walk, cleaning, or cooking. This way you can still enjoy the sound of something while giving your eyes and neck a break.

Schedule Family/Friend Dates

More often than not screen time is a solo activity. If you’re looking to spend less time in the digital world, reach out to spend time together with those closest to you. Plan picnics, game nights, or even weekly phone calls. As long as you’re enjoying their company away from digital screens it’s a win.

New Hobbies

It’s important that you find things that you can also do alone. A hobby that you’ve always been interested in can be a great way to improve yourself and get some time away from screens. Don’t let traditional hobbies box you in, follow your interests from lego sets to mug collecting, maybe even restaurant touring. By setting small goals and being consistent you’ll be sure to find something new to occupy your time.


If you have the time, lending a helping hand in your community is a great way to step away from screens and do some good. From holiday drives to school chaperones, community services are always abundant and worth your time.

Your Care Providers

Our physicians at Schneck are here to help you maintain a healthy relationship with screens both physically and mentally. Find help with any issue with Schneck’s wide-reaching services.

Reduce Screen Strain

At Schneck, we strive to care for more than just your physical health. Together our team will be here for you through any hardships. Our clinic offers walk-in hours for urgent concerns to established patients and we’re only ever a phone call away. Schedule an appointment with our team and get the great care you need.

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Dr Stephanie Williams

About the Author

Stephanie Williams DO

Dr. Stephanie Williams is a family medicine doctor with Schneck Primary Care.