Smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and computer screens are an ever-present part of modern life. It’s no surprise that research shows a rise in the detection of visual problems associated with digital screens and computer use, referred to as computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. Common symptoms include headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, eye irritation, double vision, excessive tearing or dry eyes, pain in the eyes, and excessive blinking.
Here are a few tips:
Optimize Your Viewing Angle
Position your screen about an arm's length from your eyes and 20 degrees below eye level.
Turn on the Lights
Keep your room lighting at about the same brightness as your screen. Don't stare at the screen in a dark room.
Minimize reflected glare on your screen by using an anti-glare screen protector.
Give Your Eyes a Break with the 20-20-20 Rule
Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
Don't Forget to Blink
People tend to blink less than half as often during computer use. Remember to blink fully. Dry eyes are a common symptom of digital eye strain - ask your optometrist if prescription eye drops might help.
Enhance Your Eyewear
Ask for anti-relfective coatings on the lenses of your glasses. Applied at the time of manufacturing, an anti-reflective coating can protect your eyes from bright and/or flickering light sources. If your eyes are particularly sensitive to digital viewing, you may wish to consider eyewear specifically suited for computer use.
Sleep in the Dark
Shut off your screens before bed. Digital screens emit blue light, which is a high energy light wave. Blue light in its natural form comes from the sun and helps your body to regulate natural sleeping and waking cycles. Blue light from digital screens has been shown to interfere with these cycles, which are also known as your circadian rhythm.
We all use technology in different ways in our work, social, and home environments. Uncorrected refractive errors or eye muscle misalignments may also affect how efficiently and comfortably you can use a digital screen. If you are experiencing ongoing digital eye strain, talk to your optometrist.