Digital eye strain, also referred to at times as computer eyestrain, is the temporary discomfort that follows two or more hours of digital device use at close or mid range distance of a digital device such as television, desktop, laptops, smart phones, gaming systems etc.
Symptoms of digital eye strain
- Blurred vision
- Eye redness
- Dry eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Eye irritation
- Back, neck and shoulder pain
Causes of digital eye strain
Computer use strains eyes more than reading print material because people tend to:
- View digital screens at less-than-ideal distances or angles
- Use devices that have glare or reflection
- Use devices with poor contrast between the text and the background
- Blink less while using computers (blinking is key to moistening the eyes)
Some other factors that can make digital eye strain to worsen include:
- Poor posture
- The setup of your computer workstation
- Circulating air, such as from air conditioning or a nearby fan
NOTE: Existing eye conditions may play a key role in eye strain. Common ocular conditions—such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, uncorrected refractive error and presbyopia—can be major contributing factors to digital eye strain.
How do you minimise fatigue due to heavy digital eye strain?
- Use eyewear with lenses featuring blue light (filtering capabilities) that reduce the negative effects of blue light as well as anti-reflective or anti-glare properties.
- Use proper lighting by ensuring there is uniform ambient light and windows on the side (not in front of or behind).
- Adjust monitor display settings: brightness, contrast, text size and color temperature (lower the blue light emitted).
- Blink more often.
- Take more vision breaks: Use the 20-20-20 rule: It is very helpful to take a 2-3 minute break from the screen every 20 minutes. During these breaks, focus on something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Increase text size on devices to better define content on the screen.
- Position yourself at arm’s distance away from the screen for proper viewing distance when using a computer.
- Reduce overhead lighting to eliminate screen glare.
Remember to visit an eye professional at least once a year in addition to these tips to ensure your eye health is 100%. Happy Workplace Eye Wellness Month!
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