Look Away from Your Screens: Digital Eye Strain in Adults

Date: 2019-03-13

Through use of smart phones, tablets, and televisions, the amount of time adults are spending looking at screens can be harmful to their eyes.

If your work is primarily done on a computer, you may spend eight or more hours a day looking at a screen. Then when you go home, you may relax by watching television — another screen — and looking at your smartphone — yet another, albeit smaller, screen.

If you end your day with pain in your eyes, it may be due to eye strain caused by many hours staring at a screen.

What is Eye Strain?

Eye strain is a common condition that occurs when your eyes get tired from intense use, such as when you’re driving long distances, spending a lot of time in poor lighting, and looking at digital devices for long periods of time. The American Optometric Association has penned the term “computer vision syndrome.”

Eye strain can be annoying, but it usually isn’t serious. It typically goes away once you allow your eyes to rest and take other steps to reduce your eye discomfort.

Eye strain symptoms include:

  • Sore, tired, burning, or itching eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Headache
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open

If you’re feeling any of the above, take a minute to think back on your day. Did you spend most of it in front of a bright screen? If you’re one of the millions of adults sitting in front of a screen at work, you may be experiencing eye strain.

If your symptoms persist and self-care doesn’t relieve your eye strain, call your eye doctor and schedule and appointment.

How to Get Eye Strain Relief

Fortunately, digital eye strain is fairly easy to treat by limiting exposure to the source:

  • Take rest breaks - When you’re using a computer for long periods, make a point to rest your eyes periodically. Use the “20-20-20 rule” to help you remember. For every 20 minutes of screen time, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. It’ll give your eyes a chance to refocus and rest.
  • Move your computer screen - Position your screen to avoid glare, particularly from harsh overhead lighting or windows. You might even want to replace the bulbs in your desk lamps with lower wattage ones.
  • Blink more - People who spend a lot of time looking at screens tend to blink less on average. Minimize your chances of dry eye by making an effort to blink more frequently, which keeps the front surface of your eye moist.
  • Limit screen time, especially before bed - You may not be able to greatly reduce your screen time during day if you need to perform your job on a computer. But you have more control over your screen time at home. Allow your eyes to rest for an hour or two before you go to sleep so your eyes can readjust.
  • Try glasses designed to block blue light - Blue light entering your eyes from the screens contributes to eye strain and headaches. There are many glasses on the market now that block the blue light from your screen and help reduce eye strain.

Make Your Eye Health a Priority

Your eye health should always be a priority. Your eye doctor might be able to suggest more actions to improve eye strain. As with any eye pain or discomfort, seek the guidance of a doctor.

Call Envolve Optical and schedule an appointment today.