The world revolves around our technology in this generation. Whether it’s computers, cell phones, or television, our eyes are constantly engaged with screens that can strain and cause damage to the eye. According to a study in 2019 by the schedule an appointment almost 3 in 10 US adults claim that they are online ‘almost constantly’ when awake. This presents new and totally different challenges for the muscles that make up our eyes. We are using them in a way that is totally different from the history of humanity.
A survey done back in 2015 by the American Optometric Association (AOA) found that around 58% of adult survey takers had experienced symptoms of digital eye strain at least once in their life, a number which is likely to continue to increase in our technology centric culture. Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome, is characterized by eye strain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, dry eyes and sometimes blurred vision. As such it is important to address this ever more common problem both in the workplace as well as at home.
In order to encourage eye wellness, this article will give some helpful tips to reduce digital eye strain in the workplace. Keep in mind that just incorporating some of these tips could drastically improve your eye health and quality of life and work, reducing the strain to your body through your eye muscles.
Tips for reducing Digital Eye Strain
Keep in mind that these tips are entirely self-regulated. You are the key to maintaining the health of your eyes. Come up with creative self reminders so that you begin habitually incorporating these tips into your work day. Setting a reminder alarm on your phone to take breaks from your screen is a good way to begin incorporating new eye healthy habits into your day at work. Here are some tips for reducing Digital Eye Strain:
- Sit at a distance! The AOA has guidelines for distance and recommends between 20 and 28 inches between your eye and the screen. Sitting at a comfortable distance with upright posture is important for eye and total body health as you work in front of a monitor.
- Remember the 20-20-20 rule! Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break from your screen, viewing something 20 feet away. Remember, set a reminder alarm as you begin to implement this new routine into your day at work.
- Frequent blinking! Reduce the chance of dry eyes by consciously choosing to blink more often than usual. Conscious blinking is a great way to keep your eyes fresh.
- Use a glare filter! If possible, the incorporation of a glare filter is a great way to reduce the amount of glare, which reduces strain.
- Don’t view straight on! Change the angle from which you view the screen. Ideally 4 to 5 inches below eye level. Don’t position your screen in a way that requires you to look up, which puts extra pressure on your neck and shoulders.
Digital Eye Strain Symptoms and Treatment
If you begin to experience chronic symptoms of Digital Eye Strain it is best to make an appointment with your optometrist. Frequently experiencing the following symptoms is the best indication that medical attention is needed:
- Blurred vision, especially immediately following use of screens
- Tired, red, tearful eyes
- Feeling achy and tired following screen use
- Stinging eyes
If these symptoms become a common occurrence following your digital usage, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your optometrist.
Digital Eye Strain in Children and Youth
Our screen based culture is affecting the young as well. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Optometrists are seeing more and more cases of eye strain and dry eyes from screen time in children and teens as well. It is important to teach your kids the importance of eye care. Incorporating the tips to reduce eye strain, and noticing symptoms when they begin is a good way to begin. Teaching your kids good habits, like frequent breaks, eye drops
for dry eyes, and the right distance and angles to be is a great way to train your youngsters to take care of their vision. Starting good habits early on will help reduce further issues in the future.
As our society centers more and more around technology, it is important to incorporate good habits for taking care of eyes, schedule regular visits with an eye doctor, and teach our children how to both prevent and recognize digital eye strain. Take time to shut down the devices and rest your retinas, your eyes will thank you for it in the long run.