Do your eyes ever feel tired, fatigued or even blurry after a day of being on your cell phone, tablet or computer? If so, the truth is, you’re not alone! With the increasing ways digital devices are consuming our daily lives, you’re probably experiencing digital eye strain (also called computer vision syndrome).
In the video below, Dr. Ryan Corte talks about what digital eye strain is, who is at risk, and ways to prevent it.
If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.
What is digital eye strain?
Digital eye strain is known as the temporary discomfort you feel after two or more hours of viewing a digital device, like your phone or computer.
And while it’s probably no surprise the sun is the greatest source of UV and blue light, what you may not know is that digital devices give off blue light too!
Who is at risk?
According to the Vision Council, more than 87 percent of Americans report using digital devices for more than two hours a day. This puts them at an increased risk for digital eye strain. And guess what, these numbers will probably get worse over time.
The reality is, your eyes were not designed to stare at digital screens all day long! Therefore, if you have digital eye strain, you may experience headaches, eye fatigue, dry eyes and blurry vision.
Also, if you neglect to wear the glasses your eye doctor prescribed you OR if your work environment is less than optimal, you may experience neck and shoulder pain after a long day of working on your computer.
Now for many of you, your symptoms may subside shortly after you stop using your digital devices. However, for some of you, your symptoms will continue to persist looong after you put your digital devices away.
With this in mind, here are 5 simple ways to prevent digital eye strain!
1) Make sure to take frequent breaks when using digital devices
Known as the 20-20-20 rule, the American Optometric Association recommends you take a 20-second break by viewing something that is at least 20 feet away for every 20 minutes of digital device use. However, for many of you, it’ll be challenging to stop what they’re doing every 20 minutes.
Therefore, I personally recommend a 5-minute break for every hour you spend on a digital device. Regardless of which timeline you adapt, taking scheduled breaks will provide your eyes, and brain, time to reset so you can tackle the rest of your day!
2) Get a yearly comprehensive eye exam
Getting a yearly eye exam will help you stay on top of any vision changes you have over time. Especially since uncorrected vision can intensify symptoms of digital eye strain.
Also, your eye doctor will assess how well your eyes work together as well as evaluate if you have any new or advancing eye diseases.
3) Modify your work environment
Bright or poorly positioned overhead lighting can cause unnecessary glare off your digital devices. This glare can cause your eyes to work harder than they have to (and who wants to do that?).
Simple modifications – like installing office blinds, turning down your overhead lights or swapping out high wattage for low wattage light bulbs – can certainly go a long way!
Also, make sure your computer is about 4 to 5 inches below your eye level and that you’re sitting in an ergonomic chair while you work.
4) Adjust your screen lighting
Fortunately, many digital devices now have settings that allow you to adjust display lighting and font size.
Even cooler, Apple’s Night Shift technology is designed to decrease your exposure to blue light in the evening by using your device’s clock and geolocation to determine the sunset in your area.
This technology automatically shifts the colors in your display from a cooler to warmer light output. The next morning, your device display will automatically return to its regular settings.
5) Manage your dry eye disease
Studies show we blink less when read. Therefore, it’s no surprise that staring at digital devices can really dry up your eyes. Fortunately, keeping on hand over the counter artificial tears is one simple way to help keep your eyes comfortable and lubricated.
Another option to consider is applying heat to your eyelids for a few minutes each morning and evening. Known as warm compresses, performing this daily routine can help activate the glands in your eyelids that naturally release oils onto your eyes.
Last, but certainly not least, consider taking nutraceuticals like EyePromise® EZ Tears™. This daily supplement works in as little as 1 week, soothes dry, irritated eyes, reduces your need for artificial tears and, if you’re a contact lenses wearer, will keep you comfortable in your lenses.
Curious if you have digital eye strain is impacting your quality of life? What are you waiting for? Make sure to schedule an appointment with a local eye care professional today!