How to Protect Your Eyes from Computer Strain
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Digital Eye Strain, a common vision problem caused by the overuse of digital devices and screens, affects millions of Americans each year.
According to The Vision Council, “More than 83 percent of Americans report using digital devices for more than two hours per day, and 53.1 percent report using two digital devices simultaneously, with 60.5 percent reporting experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.”
What Is Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome
The American Optometric Association states: “Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use.”
They continue: “Viewing a computer or digital screen is different than reading a printed page.
Often the letters on the computer or handheld device are not as precise or sharply defined, the level of contrast of the letters to the background is reduced, and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult.”
So, it’s not just using digital devices that causes strain, it’s a variety of other factors too.
Other Causes of Digital Eye Strain:
- Too much blue light when using a screen
- Decreased blinking when using a screen
- Poor lighting when using a screen
- Too much glare when using a screen
- Poor posture or viewing position when using a screen
- Reading dark text on dark backgrounds, or low contrast text on low contrast/busy backgrounds when using a screen
What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome?
People experience different symptoms when overusing digital devices. The most common ones include:
- Dry, aching eyes
- Blurred vision
- Tired, irritated eyes
- Double vision
- Eye twitching
How Do I Protect My Eyes from Digital Eye Strain
The first thing you should do to protect your eyes from digital eye strain, is book a general eye exam with an eye care professional.
They will help diagnose your eye problem, which might be caused by other, more serious eye conditions, such as degenerative eye diseases, nearsightedness, farsightedness or serious medical issues.
Only a professional can determine if you are actually suffering from digital eye strain.
Once you book your appointment, you should also note important lifestyle factors to discuss with your optometrist, including:
- Your medical history including any medication you are taking
- How frequently you use screens every day
- Your screen environment when at work, home or elsewhere
- Your posture when using a screen
- The distance your eyes are from your screen
- The colours on the websites you read most frequently
- When you experience your symptoms, and when they feel the worst
From there your optometrist can recommend options to help protect your eyes from digital eye strain. Their suggestions may include:
- Eye drops
- Eye exercises or routines to practise when using computer screens
- Environmental fixes for when you use a screen, such as better lighting, reduced glare and specific screen colours
- Computer screen glasses
- Reducing screen time
It’s no surprise that so many individuals suffer from digital eye strain in our modern world. With our reliance on technology and screens, we’ve changed the way we operate on a day-to-day basis–but this doesn’t mean that our vision has to suffer.
We can enjoy our technology while having healthy eyesight with proper eye care and routines.