Digital Eye Strain – How you can prevent it!
When you use digital devices, including computers, smart phones, tablets, e-readers, TV and video games more than two hours each day, you are susceptible to digital eye strain. On average, an individual blinks about 18 times per minute, but blink rates decrease when using digital devices. Resulting symptoms are blurry vision, dry, itchy or burning eyes. Dr. Geffen says, “there is also some evidence that extended exposure to blue light from digital screens can possibly lead to long-term vision issues such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.”
How can you ease the effects of digital eye strain both short-term and long-term? The Vision Council recommends the following in addition to an eye exam to keep your prescription current and to check for early signs of eye disease:
- Single Vision Lenses – designed for computer working distance
- High Fitting Bifocals – provide a large diameter bifocal section at the bottom and middle of the lens specifically for the face-to-computer distance; above the bifocal section, the lens is built to view objects that are far away
- Occupational Lenses – offer appropriate computer screen viewing assistance at the top of the lens; the bottom of the lens is for reading
- Progressive Lenses – developed as a solution for everyday vision needs, near, intermediate and far; prescribed for adults with limited computer use
- Computer Progressive Lenses – designed to provide large, distortion-free viewing areas for computer distance and up-close objects; recommended for computer use, reading and limited distance viewing
Lens Treatments and Filters
- Anti-Reflective Lenses – reduces reflection and glare from indoor and outdoor lighting sources
- Amber/Yellow Filters – absorb glare and filter out harmful blue and violet light that is emitted by many digital devices
Computer eyewear is available through eye care provider practices as well as at selected retailers. It is recommended to consult an eye care provider when considering the best options for your lifestyle and vision needs.
Use Devices Responsibly
- When using handheld devices, make sure to keep them at a safe distance, just below eye level.
- Take a 20-20-20 break: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
- Remind yourself to blink more often. Staring at a digital screen can affect the number of times you blink, causing eyes to dry.
Frequently dust and wipe digital screens to help reduce glare.
- Increase text size to better define the content on the screen. Use the settings control to make adjustments that feel comfortable to your eyes.
Adjust Your Workstation
- Lessen the amount of overhead and surrounding light that is competing with the device’s screen.
- Adjust the brightness of the device. Consider changing the background color from bright white to cool gray.
- Attach a glare reduction filter to your computer screen.
- Create a comfortable distance for viewing. When using a computer, first sit in your chair and extend your arm. Your palm should rest comfortably on the monitor (as if you’re high-fiving the screen), ideally 20 to 28 inches from your eyes.
- Adjust the screen so that it is directly in front of your face and slightly below eye level. Do not tilt a computer monitor.