Over 60% of students and adults suffer from computer eye strain.
Studies show that most American students and adults spend about 11 hours per day on digital devices, including computers, smartphones and tablets.
The average U.S. household owns 7.3 screens, with the percentage of households with smartphones now at 79%, computers at 78% and tablets at 68%.
While excessive computer use may not permanently damage your vision, it can lead to significant ocular discomfort and a condition called computer vision syndrome.
According to The Vision Council, over 6 out of 10 people who spend multiple hours per day in front of a digital screen, experience symptoms of computer eye strain, also known as digital eye strain.
Digital eye strain causes dry eyes, blurry vision, headaches and neck and shoulder pain.
While screen time may be unavoidable these days, there are ways that you can reduce your chances of developing computer eye strain and computer vision syndrome.
Here are some of our top tips:
1. Set up a comfortable work space
Your work desk and chair do more than define your workspace. A comfortable chair that encourages you to sit up straight and provides just the right support, will not only increase your physical comfort, it will increase your work productivity and allow you to work for longer periods of time.
The height of your desk also matters, as it allows you to sit in alignment with your computer screen, with your head in a neutral position— avoiding neck and shoulder pain.
Be sure to adjust your screen so that it stands about an arm’s length away, pointing slightly downward— this is the most comfortable position for your neck and your eyes.
2. Adjust lighting
Bright or harsh lighting is a common culprit when it comes to eye strain. Whether it’s natural light or harsh fluorescents that are causing your eyestrain, it is important to adjust your lighting to your eyes’ liking.
Close blinds and curtains in the room to keep excessive light out, and opt for lower intensity light bulbs in your office.
3. Blink often
Blinking is important for keeping the eyes lubricated and moist and reducing the risk of dry eyes — which is a common symptom of computer eye strain.
However, studies show that when using a digital device, most people tend to blink less often.
To reduce your risk of eye strain from dry eyes, try to be aware of how often you blink, and get into the habit of blinking more frequently when using any type of digital device.
4. Take screen breaks
Taking frequent breaks away from your screen will not only give you a chance to stretch your muscles, it will also give your eyes a chance to relax, so they can work more efficiently for longer periods of time.
Implement the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
SEE RELATED: Why Do Computers Cause Dry Eyes?
If computer eye strain is affecting your quality of life, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you to determine if a vision problem is at the root of your discomfort.
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5. Wear computer glasses
Computer glasses can be a major benefit for those who need focusing support when working on the computer for many hours each day.
You can also add a blue light blocking filter to your lenses to prevent excessive blue light from affecting your delicate eyes.
Wearing computer glasses when using any type of digital device can significantly reduce symptoms of digital eye strain.
6. Upgrade your device
If you find yourself struggling to see small print or images on your screen, it may be time to trade in your old screen for a one that offers greater visual comfort.
If you do decide to upgrade your device, look for a flat-panel LED screen with an anti-reflective surface, as these screens tend to provide maximal comfort, and will therefore reduce your chances of eye strain. A large display screen can also help to lower your risk of computer eye strain.
7. Schedule regular eye exams
Many vision problems that can result in computer eye strain often go undetected due to infrequent eye examinations.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends having an eye exam every year to allow your eye doctor to monitor your eye health and detect any visual changes early on.
Does vision therapy work for computer eye strain?
Yes, if a vision problem is at the root of your symptoms.
If computer eye strain is affecting your work productivity or impacting your quality of life, speak with your eye doctor about vision therapy.
Often, a vision problem that affects the visual skills, is at the root of computer eye strain — though the only way to know for sure is to go for a comprehensive visual examination.
If your eye doctor identifies a functional vision problem, vision therapy may be recommended. Vision therapy is an effective treatment program that strengthens the eye-brain connections to improve the visual skills necessary for clear and comfortable vision, while you work on your computer.
LEARN MORE: Guide to Blurry Vision and Headaches
If you are experiencing symptoms of computer eye strain, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you to determine if a vision problem is at the root of your discomfort.
While screen time may be unavoidable these days, there are ways that you can reduce your chances of computer eye strain.
If computer eye strain is affecting your work productivity or impacting your quality of life, speak with your eye doctor about computer eyeglasses and vision therapy.
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