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Maximizing Vision While Watching Sports on Television

There's virtually no difference in blue light emissions from the television screen and your computer

If you’re a big college hoops fan, tourney time is definitely the best event of the sports year. March Madness always brings a thrill like no other, especially when your team makes the field of 64 (or even 68).

Unfortunately for fans watching at home, blue light emissions shine from every screen. The television is no exception. The longer we watch television, the greater our exposure to blue light.

If your team is poised to make a run, you might want to revisit the best ways to keep your eyes comfortable all the way to the Final Four. Keep in mind, blue light is the same whether it comes from the television screen or the computer (even mobile devices and tablets).

It might take a bit longer to notice the glare from the television because we tend to hold our second screens up close. Either way, if you stare at any screen for a long period of time, your eyes may be headed for an early upset (forget about the Final Four).

Get Into The Game:

First off, make sure to keep some preservative free artificial tears handy to avoid dryness, especially if you’re wearing contact lenses. To help avoid digital eye strain, remember a couple previously mentioned techniques.

Once again, try to make sure the television isn’t the brightest light in the room. If you keep another light on, the television won’t hog the spotlight. Now this might defeat the purpose of watching March Madness, especially if the game is coming down to the wire and your team desperately needs a buzzer-beater. However, if other lights are on, at least your eyes can wonder during commercial breaks and media time-outs.

Also, remember the 20-20-20 Rule and “Think Blink.” To rehash, the 20-20-20 Rule is when you look 20 feet into the distance every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. The “Think Blink” technique is consciously closing your eyes for a few seconds every hour. Since the television is most likely across the room from your couch, it’ll be slightly different than viewing your computer screen at work. That said, it makes sense to try to apply a less strenuous combination of the two methods.

Simply close your eyes for 10 seconds every 30 minutes. Also, try to keep your mind conscious for the duration of the 10 seconds. This may be hard to do when your senses are heightened. But if you can consistently pull off a modified “Think Blink,” it’ll help to reset your tears (and your emotions), especially if the game is coming down to the wire.

Other Helpful Tips:

If you’re watching the games at home, try to move around during the commercial breaks. The more you move your body, the less stiffness you’ll have to deal with at the end of the day.

For me personally, I love to squeeze in some push ups, sit ups, or stretching during commercials. I’m not saying this is for everyone, but it’s certainly something you can try. This breaks up the amount of time your body is sedentary. Furthermore, you should be as ready as possible if or when the coach calls your number.

If you plan on watching your team play at the bar, do your best to limit alcohol consumption. I’m not telling you to abstain from alcohol because many people enjoy drinking with their sports. In fact, it’s a national (and international) pastime. But do keep a drinking plan in mind when out in public.

Having a plan at the bar is more healthy for your body and much easier on your wallet. For every alcoholic beverage you consume, try to compliment it with one or two glasses of water. This will help to avoid dehydration, which can contribute to irritated and dry eyes. Furthermore, always be mindful of drink prices so you’re not caught in a full-court press when the check comes.

Finally, remember that sports should always be fun. If your team doesn’t win, you should try to stay calm. No team wins every game so chances are you’ve dealt with losing before. Let’s face it, 63 out of 64 teams will lose at some point during the tourney. It’s best to handle yourself with class whether you’re on the winning or losing side. Taking your emotions out on other people will do more harm than good.

The Rundown:

  • Turn on some lights – the television shouldn’t be the brightest light in the room
  • Use preservative free artificial tears to lubricate your eyes prior to watching each game
  • Use a modified “Think Blink” – close your eyes firmly (but gently) for 10 seconds every 30 minutes (or so)
  • Use commercial breaks wisely – get up to stretch, exercise, or simply move around your living room
  • Increase water intake if consuming alcohol
  • Have a plan for the bar (if going) – be aware of alcohol consumption and drink prices
  • Have fun… and may the best team win