How to protect yourself from Digital Eye Strain

What is Digital Eye Strain?

 

Digital Eye Strain is the temporary discomfort that follows two or more hours of digital device use. A variety of electronic devices can cause digital eye strain, including televisions, desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, e-readers, tablets, and gaming systems, especially when they are used simultaneously or when switching repeatedly from one device to another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?

 

  • Red, dry or irritated eyes

  • Blurred vision

  • Eye fatigue

  • Back, neck and shoulder pain

  • Headaches

 

What causes Digital Eye Strain?

 

Digital Eyes Strain is not caused by one isolated event or behavior.I rritation and discomfort can be the result of many issues. Digital devices often feature small print and pixelated images that can be difficult to read and cause our eyes to strain to focus. We may also be using the devices improperly by holding them at the wrong angle or too far from our eyes. 

 

Blue light, also referred to as High-Energy Visible (HEV) light, is another cause of digital eye strain. It is emitted by digital devices and increases eye strain more so than other colors that have a longer wavelength. It may also contribute to vision problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

 

Digital eye strain can also be exacerbated in adults who wear prescription eyewear. This is because the corrective lenses they wear are often times not intended for viewing the mid-distance range of computers and electronics.

 

How do I protect myself from Digital Eye Strain?

 

With so many of us using computers at work, computer eye strain has become a major job-related complaint. Studies show that eye strain and other bothersome visual symptoms occur in 50 to 90 percent of computer workers.

 

Start by paying attention to your body. Eye, neck, head or shoulder pains are warning signs that digital eye strain may be occurring.

Here are some easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of computer eye strain and other common symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS):

 

1. Go for a regular eye check

 

Having a regular eye check is the most important thing you can do to prevent or treat computer vision problems. If you haven't had an eye exam in over a year, schedule a visit with an eye doctor near you.

 

2. Use the correct lighting

 

Eye strain often is caused by excessively bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from harsh interior lighting. When you use a computer, your ambient lighting should be about half as bright as that typically found in most offices. Eliminate exterior light by closing drapes, shades or blinds. Reduce interior lighting by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes or use lower intensity bulbs and tubes.

 

If possible, position your computer monitor or screen so windows are to the side, instead of in front or behind it. Many computer users find their eyes feel better if they can avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights. If possible, turn off the overhead fluorescent lights in your office and use floor lamps that provide indirect incandescent or halogen lighting instead.

 

3. Minimize glare

 

Glare on walls and finished surfaces, as well as reflections on your computer screen also can cause computer eye strain. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor. If you wear glasses, you can consider purchasing lenses with anti-reflective (AR) coating. AR coating reduces glare by minimizing the amount of light reflecting off the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.

 

Click here to find out more about Kodak Clean&CleAR Lens Coating.

 

 

 

4. Blink more often

 

Blinking is very important when working at a computer; blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.

 

When working at a computer, people blink less frequently – about one-third as often as they normally do – and many blinks performed during computer work are only partial lid closures, according to studies. Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and this can cause dry eyes. Also, the air in many office environments is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate, placing you at greater risk for dry eye problems.

 

If you experience dry eye symptoms, ask your eye doctor about artificial tears for use during the day. By the way, don't confuse lubricating eye drops with the drops formulated to 'get the red out'. The latter can indeed make your eyes look better – they contain ingredients that reduce the size of blood vessels on the surface of your eyes to 'whiten' them. But they are not necessarily formulated to reduce dryness and irritation.

 

To reduce your risk of dry eyes during computer use, try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). This will help rewet your eyes.

 

5. Take a 20-20-20 break

 

Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away. Even short breaks make a huge difference.

 

6. Consider computer eyewear

 

For the greatest comfort at your computer, you might benefit from having your eye care professional modify your eyeglasses prescription to create customized computer glasses. This is especially true if you normally wear contact lenses, which may become dry and uncomfortable during sustained computer work.

 

Computer glasses also are a good choice if you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, because these lenses generally are not optimal for the distance to your computer screen. Also, you may want to consider photochromic lenses or lightly tinted lenses for computer eyewear to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful blue light emitted by digital devices.

 

You may be interested in the following lenses that may help you alleviate Digital Eye Strain