Stop Digital Eye Strain from Impacting Your Daily Life

With the prevalence of smartphones, tablets, and computers in our daily lives, the number of individuals suffering from digital eye strain is through the roof. In fact, it is estimated that around 70% of Millennials are faced with the condition. Given that two hours of screen-time a day is enough to trigger symptoms, this is hardly surprising.

Digital eye strain is an irritating condition which causes discomfort and fatigue in and around the eyes as a result of spending a long time focusing on digital screens. You’ve probably been there: working away at your computer, then feeling tired, or perhaps developing a compulsive need to rub your eyes. You could be dealing with digital eye strain.

The keys to overcoming digital eye strain include taking preventative measures to keep symptoms from persisting.

Educate Yourself About Digital Eye Strain and its Symptoms

When you look at anything up close, the focusing muscles in and around your eye are working hard to ensure that the image is clear and sharp. Tasks like reading (especially from a digital screen) require your eyes to work without reprieve. Over time, this fatigues your muscles and puts them under strain.

This strain is usually manifested as general discomfort or tiredness in your eyes, but other symptoms may include:

  • A burning or irritated sensation in your eyes
  • A temptation to “rub your eyes awake”
  • Sore shoulders or upper back
  • Blurred vision or focusing difficulty
  • Headaches
  • Symptoms similar to dry eyes

Be Proactive and Implement Preventative Care

There are many steps you can take to prevent (or reduce) problems arising from digital eye strain. While not an exhaustive list, this may give you a few ideas you can use at home or at the office.

  • Follow the 20/20/20 rule – Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and shift your gaze to an object that is at least 20 feet away from you.
  • Wear computer glasses – These are designed to:
    • Reduce glare
    • Focus at the optimal distance (further than reading vision, shorter than long distance)
    • Potentially block blue light from the screen

    The benefit of each aspect of computer glasses is to give your eyes less work to do, and keep them in a more comfortable environment, therefore reducing strain. Blue wavelength light has been linked to sleep disorders and other issues, so its reduction helps your long-term health.

  • Use ambient lighting – By using soft, diffuse light behind your monitor, your eyes require less effort to focus and can experience reduced strain. In your home or office, try to limit any harsh lighting and glare.
  • Resting Point of Accommodation – The ideal distance at which your monitor should be from your eyes is around 26-30”. This is the distance at which your eyes will naturally focus more easily.
  • Have regular eye exams – In the interest of preserving your overall eye health, it is always a good idea to schedule regular, comprehensive eye exams. Your optometrist will be able to advise on management strategies for occasions where simple lifestyle changes do not alleviate the symptoms of digital eye strain.

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