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Do you have eye fatigue from your digital devices?

Part one of a two part series on Digital Eye Strain

A staggering nine in 10 adults spend more than two hours each day on their digital devices, according to a national study by The Vision Council. How many hours do you spend on smart phones, computers, tablets, e-readers, TV or video games? Would it surprise you to learn that over 60 percent of adults spend five or more hours each day on devices, causing digital eye strain?   Dr. Geffen explains, “digital eye strain symptoms include blurry vision, dry, itchy, burning eyes and headaches from eye strain. “

The physical discomfort can be associated with many factors, including the close to mid-range distance of digital screens, several environmental factors, posture, personal device use habits, lighting and the blue light emitted from screens. A comprehensive eye exam can help identify digital eye strain so that symptoms can be reduced or eliminated. Here are some helpful solutions to ease discomfort when using your devices.

“I get headaches from squinting to read the print on my screen.”

  • The culprit: Text on Digital Devices

Try increasing the text size and adjusting the contrast on the screen to make the text easier to read at a comfortable distance.

“My eyes feel dry and tired after spending all day staring at my computer and phone.”

  • The culprit: Time Spent Staring at Screens

Remember the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds at something 20 feet away. This helps refocus and recharge the eyes during long periods of use and helps maintain normal blinking rates.

“When at work, the lighting and my desk setup make my eyes feel uncomfortable.”

  • The culprit: Workstation Distance and Ergonomics

Adjust the computer screen so that is is one arm’s length in front of your face.

“I find myself straining when using my glasses with digital devices for sustained periods of time.”

  • The culprit: Existing Vision Issues

Fatigue can be an issue as eyes strain to correct for abnormal vision problems while focusing on complex digital content. Lenses designed to correct vision might not be appropriate for the mid-distance range of a computer. People with vision issues should consult their eye doctor to tailor their eyeglasses or contact lenses for their specific activities, including use digital devices.

“My eyes get irritated from the light on the screen.”

  • The culprit: Glare and Blue Light

Glare and reflections can contribute to digital eye strain. Continuing research indicates the blue light emitted from screen or overhead lighting can have both short-term and long-term effects on the eye. To reduce glare, try an anti-reflective coating on the front and back of lenses or anti-glare protective screens for monitors. Also try adjusting lighting in the workspace, using desk lamps or other portable lighting.

It is critical to maintain your eye health and if you are experiencing Digital Eye Strain, an eye exam is recommended to treat the symptoms and customize a plan for your best vision.

Don’t forget your children are affected as well. The study showed one in four children use these devices more than three hours a day. This exposure, which occurs both at school and at play, poses a risk to children’s developing eyes. Accelerated myopia, or nearsightedness, is just one potentially troubling byproduct of too much screen time. 1

Call to schedule a convenient appointment for your family members and alleviate the symptoms of Digital Eye Strain.

1. Kathryn A. Rose, PhD, Ian G. Morgan, BSc, PhD, Jenny Ip, MBBS, Annette Kifley, MBBS, MAppStat, Son Huynh, MBBS, MMed (ClinEpi), Wayne Smith, BMed, PhD, Paul Mitchell, MD,PhD. “Outdoor Activity Reduces the Prevalence of Myopia in Children.” Ophthalmology. Volume 115, Issue 8, Pages 1279–1285, August 2008. http://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(07)01364-4/abstract.