According to Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, prolonged exposure to digital devices can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms known as digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome.
In our digital age, many people spend hours staring at screens, whether for work, entertainment, or communication. However, this prolonged exposure to digital devices can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms known as digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome.
Digital eye strain can affect anyone who uses screens regularly, from young children to older adults.
According to the American Optometric Association, around 59% of adults report experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain, which is likely even higher among younger generations who have grown up with digital devices.
Symptoms of digital eye strain include:
- Eye fatigue
- Dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Difficulty focusing
- Increased sensitivity to light
These symptoms can be mild or severe, depending on the individual’s screen use habits, the type of screen used, and other factors such as lighting conditions and posture,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“While digital eye strain is not a serious condition, it can be very uncomfortable and impact the quality of life, productivity, and overall eye health.”
Causes of Digital Eye Strain
What causes digital eye strain, and how can we prevent or alleviate it? Digital eye strain is caused by several factors related to the use of screens.
Blue light: Digital screens emit blue light, a type of high-energy visible (HEV) light that can penetrate deep into the eye and cause damage to the retina. Blue light exposure can also disrupt sleep patterns and circadian rhythms, leading to fatigue and other symptoms.
Screen glare: Screens can create glare, especially in bright environments or when the screen is dirty or smudged. This glare can cause eye strain and discomfort.
Poor posture: Many people hunch over their screens or hold them too close, which can strain the neck, shoulders, and back, as well as the eyes.
Reduced blinking: When we stare at screens, we tend to blink less, which can cause dry eyes and discomfort.
Flicker and refresh rates: Some screens can flicker or have a low refresh rate, which can cause eye strain and headaches.
5 Tips for Eye Strain Relief
There are various ways to prevent or alleviate digital eye strain.
- One can adjust screen settings to reduce blue light and glare by changing the brightness, contrast, and colour temperature.
- The 20-20-20 rule can be followed, taking breaks every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Conscious blinking or artificial tears can also help lubricate the eyes.
- Positioning screens at a comfortable distance and angle, using appropriate lighting, and reducing screen time can also help.
- Additionally, blue light filters or glasses can help reduce symptoms of digital eye strain, while regular eye exams can detect and treat underlying eye conditions.
In severe cases, prescription glasses or contact lenses may be necessary to correct underlying vision problems contributing to digital eye strain.