With the amount of time we spend staring at digital screens, it’s no surprise that more and more people are experiencing digital eye strain. From computers and phones to TVs and tablets, our eyes are constantly adjusting to focus on pixelated images and text. Over time, this can take a real toll on our vision and overall eye health. Digital eye strain, often called computer vision syndrome, refers to a group of eye and vision problems that can be caused by prolonged use of digital devices. In some cases in as little as two hours.
That’s why it’s so important to understand and recognize the signs of and symptoms of digital eye strain. While symptoms may vary from person to person, the most common symptoms of digital eye strain include:
- Eye discomfort and fatigue. This can include a feeling of dryness, grittiness or burning in the eyes
- Blurred vision or double vision. This can be temporary or persistent
- Headaches. This can be caused by eye strain or neck pain.
- Neck/shoulder pain. This can be caused by poor posture when using devices
- Dry eyes. This can be caused by decreased blinking when using digital devices.
The reason these symptoms occur is because our eyes aren’t designed to stare at a fixed distance for a long period. When we view screens, we blink less and our eyes have to work extra hard to maintain focus. This leads to overworked eye muscles and dry eyes.
If left unchecked, digital eye strain can progress to more serious vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, blurry vision, and headaches. Children are especially susceptible as their developing eyes are more sensitive.
Luckily, there are simple ways to prevent and treat digital eye strain:
- Use a quality artificial tear and moist heat to lubricate and relieve dry eyes
- Take frequent breaks from screens
- Follow the 20–20–20 rule (every 20 minutes, look away at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds).
- Reduce glare with anti-glare screens/glasses
- Adjust font sizes for easier reading
- Maintain proper posture and blinking when using devices
- Limit digital screen time right before bed
- Avoid using digital devices in low-light conditions
Along with these tips, we recommend the Doctor Eye Health Eyestrain Zen Routine found here: Eyestrain Zen Routine — myze The Daily Care for Eyes
Being aware of the symptoms and causes of digital eye strain is key to protecting your vision. Don’t ignore tired or irritated eyes after prolonged use of phones, tablets, computers, and other screens. Implementing healthy viewing habits and daily care for your eyes will help prevent eye strain from spiraling into bigger problems.
Your eyes will thank you!