Computer Eye Strain

Even if you don’t work in front of a computer all day, chances are you spend a fair amount of time looking at a screen—your iPhone, the television, or your tablet or e-reader. In 2020, let’s all resolve to take steps to reduce computer eye strain.

What is computer eye strain?

According to the American Optometric Association, digital eye strain (also called computer vision syndrome) refers to a set of eye and vision-related problems resulting from prolonged use of electronic devices like phones, tablets, computers, etc. On average, American workers spend seven hours on a computer. Some of the most common symptoms associated with digital eye strain include:

  • Headache
  • Blurred Vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Eye fatigue/discomfort
  • Eye twitching
  • Red eyes

What causes digital eye strain?

In addition to prolonged screen time, other factors contribute to the symptoms of digital eye strain such as uncorrected vision problems and aging. Additional factors include:

  • Inadequate lighting
  • Screen glare/reflection
  • Poor seating/posture
  • Improper distance from the screen

Computer Eyestrain at office

How can I prevent and/or reduce digital eye strain?

There are simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of digital eye strain and avoid or reduce common symptoms. The first step is to have a routine, comprehensive annual eye exam. Your eye doctor can make recommendations based on your medical history, exam, and your screen habits.

Another strategy to reduce eye strain is to use proper lighting in your work area. Reducing harsh or bright lighting, positioning screens away from windows to avoid glare, and changing to lower-intensity light bulbs can all help. Other strategies to help you reduce eye strain include:

  • Adjust the working distance from your computer screen
  • Take rest breaks–every 20 minutes, gaze at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds
  • Blink more frequently
  • Choose lenses with anti-reflective (AR) coating
  • Upgrade your computer display screen
  • Adjust computer display settings (brightness, contrast, text size

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