Digital-related eye strain affects people of all ages. Considering the long hours we spend every day using digital devices, it’s no wonder more people are complaining of eye strain. Digital eye strain can make eyes blurry and cause them to feel achy and tired. Other symptoms include uncomfortable dry eyes and unusual tearing or stinging.

Dealing with Digital Eye Strain

Humans normally blink about 15 times per minute. But as people focus on a computer screen or digital device, this rate drops to about 5 to 7 times per minute. Blinking is the eye’s way of staying healthy by providing the moisture it needs on the surface. The solution to this problem is to become aware that it a problem and make a conscious effort to blink as often as possible. This keeps the surface of the eyes from drying out. Other solutions include using artificial tears and using a room humidifier to add moisture to the air.

Exercise Away Eye Strain

A good exercise in keeping eyes healthy while working on a screen is to take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

Prescripton Computer Glasses

Computer eyeglasses can be another great way to reduce eye strain. These prescription glasses allow the eyes to focus specifically at the computer screen distance (about 20-26 inches away from the face). Some of these glasses have multifocal lenses to help you quickly shift your focus between close, intermediate, and far distances. Prescription computer glasses for reducing eye strain are not the same as “blue light blocking” glasses.

Adjusting the Device to Eliminate Eye Strain

Another source of eyestrain is screen brightness. When the screen glows brighter than the surroundings, the eyes must work harder to see. This problem can be remedied by adjusting the screen brightness to match the level of light in the room. Increasing the contrast on the screen may also be helpful to reduce eye strain.

If the screen on a digital device or computer is reflective and has a lot of glare, using a matte screen filter is a good way to cut that glare. These are available at most computer stores or cell phone stores.

The optimal distance to sit when using a computer is about 25 inches (consistent with arm’s length) from the screen. Screens set at an angle that allows the eye to gaze slightly downward, rather than straight ahead, or up, also helps to eliminate eye strain.

Contact Lenses and Computer Eye Strain

Contact lenses create another level of eye strain when using digital devices for long periods of time, and dry eye can be an ongoing problem. To avoid eye strain, give your eyes a break by switching to glasses while working on a computer or digital screen. Also, don’t sleep in contact lenses, even if they are labeled “extended wear” and always use good contact lens cleaning practices.

When to Get Help

If your eyes are consistently red, blurry, or watery, or if they become sensitive to light or painful, it’s a good idea to see an ophthalmologist.

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Computers, Digital Devices and Eye Strain —