Avoiding Eye Strain From Digital Screens

Submitted by Elman Retina Group on April 15, 2020

Avoid Computer Vision SyndromeNowadays, many of us rely on digital screens for work, leisure and keeping our lives organized. But using a computer, tablet or smartphone requires our eyes to work harder, leaving us susceptible to vision-related symptoms. With the rise in digital technology, eye doctors have noticed an uptick in the number of patients bothered by symptoms like dry eyes, eye fatigue, blurry vision and headaches.

If you are experiencing similar symptoms, you might have what doctors refer to as digital eye strain (also called computer vision syndrome). According to the team at Elman Retina Group, you can reduce the severity and occurrence of your symptoms with a few simple changes.

Control Lighting and Glare on Your Screen

One of the first steps to make computer work more comfortable and possibly ease symptoms of eye strain is to control your lighting conditions and limit glare on your screen. Position your screen away from direct sunlight or harsh interior lighting, making sure that it is not directly underneath fluorescent light sources, or in front of/behind windows. An anti-glare screen filter can also reduce the amount of light reflected off the screen, making computer work easier on your eyes.

Evaluate Your Working Distance

If you are working on a computer or laptop, ideally the screen should be approximately an arm’s length away from your face. The screen should be slightly below eye level (approximately 4 to 5 inches below eye level), as measured from the center of the screen.

If you are working off of a reference material, ensure the document is to the side of or above your keyboard and below your monitor. When thinking about the position of the document, ideally you do not want to have to move your head back and forth from the document to the screen.

Blink and Rest Often

It’s crucial to be cognizant of your blink rate. Naturally our eyes blink less when looking at a digital screen; and when we blink less, our eyes can dry out. Focus on blinking more frequently than you normally would to keep your eyes comfortably moisturized.

Also, give your eyes periodic breaks from screen time. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to focus your gaze on an object approximately 20 feet away. This helps to relax the focusing muscles inside your eyes.

Get Your Prescription Checked

Uncorrected vision problems such as farsightedness and astigmatism or age-related visual changes can worsen symptoms of digital eye strain. If you have not had an eye exam recently, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to check for any problems that may be affecting your vision.

You might also want to ask your eye doctor about any special tints or coatings for your lenses that can help make computer work more comfortable and more productive.

For more information about keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable while working on digital devices, please contact our Baltimore-area team today.