What does your technology do for you? Today, we can order dinner, buy concert tickets, chat with friends, play games, and even work, all from virtually any device with a screen. Smartphones, gaming consoles, computers, and tablets make our lives more convenient.
But, there are some drawbacks to increased screen time. It’s almost impossible to get away from our devices, and as a result, an estimated 65% of Americans suffer from discomfort related to digital eye strain.
Digital eye strain is also known as computer vision syndrome. It refers to a group of ocular issues stemming from too much time spent using digital devices.
If you’re experiencing eye discomfort after staring at your screen, we can help. We’ll assess your screen habits and provide some strategies to mitigate your discomfort.
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Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain
There are a few common symptoms associated with digital eye strain, including:
- Dry eyes
- Eye strain
- Blurry vision
- Neck and shoulder pain
Often, symptoms will alleviate when you take a solid screen time break. But, the discomfort will return once you’re in front of a digital device again. To find long-term relief, you’ll need to implement some prevention strategies.
It’s also important to visit your optometrist to ensure there is not a more serious, underlying condition.
Mitigating Digital Eye Strain
Adjusting your workspace, taking intentional screen breaks, and ensuring you have sufficient lighting while using your digital device can all help reduce digital eye strain.
Office ergonomics and proper posture can help keep you comfortable while using digital devices. While you’re at your desk, be sure to sit upright with your feet flat on the floor. Your shoulders should not be rounded or hunched, and your neck should align with your torso.
Keep devices at eye level and your keyboard and mouse near enough to prevent reaching.
If you’re reading on your digital device, increase the font size to minimize squinting. Contrast and color tones should also be set to maximize your comfort.
The light levels both in the room around you and on your device can prevent digital eye strain. Turn down your screen’s brightness to match the lighting levels of your surroundings. If the light from the room reflects in your screen, the glare can also contribute to eye strain.
Anti-glare screens are available for your device’s display, andglasses with an anti-reflective coating can help.
The 20-20-20 Rule
When you’re concentrating on your work, it might be challenging to take a break, but following the 20-20-20 rule can help to relax your eyes. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This helps give your eyes a chance to refocus, reducing strain.
Kids & Digital Eye Strain
Adults use screens frequently, but they’re creeping into kids' lives too. Studies show that the risk of children developing visual issues increases after 2–4 hours of screen time.
Increased device use also means kids are spending more time indoors. The World Health Organization recommends limiting screen time for children and encouraging them to play outside instead.
Children should have regular, comprehensive eye exams to ensure the health of their vision, regardless of their screen time.
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