Digital Eye Strain Can Often Be Debilitating
It seems that no matter where you go, you are regularly staring at a digital screen. Whether you are using it for work at the office or studying for an exam at school, digital screens have become a fixture in the lives of most people across the globe. You even use these screens in the comfort of your own home, whether it be on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. These devices have connected us to a broader world, allowing us to communicate with people thousands of miles away or purchase whatever we need with the push of a button. While these devices have positively impacted our lives, they can often lead to discomfort.
Digital eye strain, also referred to as computer vision syndrome, is a common problem many people across the globe suffer from. The Vision Council reported that nearly 80% of American adults report using a digital device for more than two hours every day. Nearly 59% of those people reported experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.
With so many Americans using digital devices daily, it’s no wonder why the number of cases of digital eye strain continues to rise. First Eye Care DFW is a trusted eye care clinic in the DFW region that can help you adjust to your surroundings and adopt habits to help you protect your eyes from digital eye strain.
What is Digital Eye Strain?
Digital screens can be found in virtually all aspects of human life, from helping you with work and school to allowing you to communicate with relatives halfway around the world. Due to this influx of digital devices in our lives, the prospect of developing symptoms of digital eye strain has also drastically increased.
Digital eye strain refers to a group of eye and vision-related problems that happen as a result of spending too much time in front of a digital screen, such as a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. While this condition isn’t inherently vision-threatening, it can cause great pain and discomfort. Some symptoms of digital eye strain include:
- Eye fatigue
- Red eyes
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Dry eyes
- Neck, back, or shoulder pain
- Eye twitching
These symptoms do go away after some time and hardly cause any lasting eye damage. However, they can be quite debilitating, affecting everyday activities.
Many factors also play into the effects of digital eye strain, including:
- Poor lighting
- Poor posture or seating position
- Glare on the screen
- Uncorrected vision problems
- Distance from the screen
- Head angle
Any combination of these factors can lead to digital eye strain. Often, someone will experience these symptoms because their visual abilities cannot meet the visual demands of the task at hand. With the number of people experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain growing every year, First Eye Care DFW understands how important it is to provide information to help alleviate these symptoms.
Treating Digital Eye Strain
The easiest way to prevent digital eye strain is to limit the amount of time spent using a digital device. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. They require a digital device to complete tasks for work, school, and other aspects of their life. However, there are still many things you can do to help prevent or mitigate symptoms of this condition.
Adjust Your Distance from Your Screen
You should never work too close or too far from your computer screen. This forces your eyes to work much harder than they need to complete a task, which leads to eye fatigue. Additionally, most people find it more comfortable to view their screen at a downward angle instead of directly in front of them or slightly above them.
Position your computer screen around 20 to 24 inches from your eyes. Try to adjust the center of your screen so that you are looking down at it at about a 10 to 15-degree angle for optimal comfort for your eyes, neck, and back.
Another common cause for eye strain is excessively bright lights, either from sunlight shining through the window or harsh interior lighting. When you’re using a digital device, the lighting in the room should be half as bright as usual. Limit the amount of exterior light coming into the room by closing blinds, shades, or drapes.
Also, position your screen so that your windows are not directly in front of or behind it to eliminate any glare. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your display, as well.
If you can’t adjust your interior lighting, adjust your computer settings. Change the brightness to match that of the room your working in. Reduce your color temperature. Blue light is often associated with digital eye strain, so reducing the color temperature reduces the amount of blue light emitted.
Dry eye is a very common symptom of digital eye strain. When you stare at a digital screen for an extended period, your eyes don’t blink as much as they need to. This means your eyes don’t receive the adequate lubrication they need to be comfortable. The tears that coat your eyes evaporate and leave your eyes dry and irritated.
If you have been experiencing dry eye during computer use, trying blinking slowly ten or more times every 20 minutes to lubricate your eyes. If need be, visit your eye doctor to see if they can prescribe you with artificial tears to use throughout the day.
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
Your eyes are like all muscles in your body, and they require rest when they have been working for extended periods. To limit the effects of digital eye strain, give your eyes a break. Every two hours, give your eyes a 15-minute break away from all computer screens. Additionally, every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds to let your eyes refocus and relax.
Get a Comprehensive Eye Exam
One of the best ways to protect your eyes from any kind of eye condition, including digital eye strain, is through a comprehensive eye exam. When you visit your eye doctor, they will be able to detect any ailments plaguing your eyes that are affecting your vision. They will be able to help correct your vision either with glasses or contacts. If you are experiencing eye strain during computer use, tell your optometrist. They will be able to give you tips to protect your eyes. They may also be able to prescribe you artificial tears to lubricate your eyes or even computer vision glasses to shield your eyes from blue light. If you’ve been dealing with digital eye strain, contact the trusted DFW eye care specialist at First Eye Care DFW.