5 Simple and Effective Ways To Prevent Digital Eye Strain

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5 Simple & Effective Ways To Prevent Digital Eye Strain

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!

In fact, recent studies suggest that an overexposure to blue light can cause early onset cataracts, macular degeneration and disrupt your sleep patterns.

Early onset cataracts can occur from over exposure to UV and blue lightOver exposure to UV and blue light can lead to macular degeneration

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.

Too much digital device use can lead to digital eye strain

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!

Taking breaks (like for coffee or to use the bathroom) is a great way to get away from your digital devices during work.

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!

Female getting a yearly comprehensive eye exam

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.

Installing office blinds can really improve work environment

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.  

Apple's Night Shift Technology can help reduce your exposure to harmful blue light.

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.

EyePromise EZ TearsAnother 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!

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Ryan Corte, OD
Dr. Ryan Corte was born and raised in Novi, MI where he attended Novi High School. He graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science in 2008. He also attended The Ohio State University College of Optometry where he graduated with a Doctor of Optometry degree in 2012. Dr. Corte completed an Optometric Residency in Primary Care and Ocular Disease at the Illinois College of Optometry in 2013. During his residency, he obtained advanced clinical competency to practice optometry at the highest level as well as provided educational assistance and supervision of third and fourth year students as a clinical faculty member. He now practices just north of Charlotte, NC at Northlake Eye. In addition to his clinical expertise, Dr. Corte has contributed to optometry through multiple leadership roles. He is a former Executive President of the American Optometric Student Association and is currently serving on the Young ODs and Membership committee of the North Carolina Optometric Society Optometric. He also was a senior journalist for NewGradOptometry.com and is a co-founder of CovalentCareers.com. Dr. Corte thrives on involvement and looks forward to remaining very active throughout his professional career. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his wife, family and friends as well as continuing to stay active in his community and in life.