Our eyes were never meant to do the same thing for extended periods of time. Whether we’re talking about reading, watching TV, or gaming; doing the same thing for hours on end can be harmful to every part of your body, and your eyes are no exception.
Reading or staring at a nearby object for several hours causes eye strain, which is when your eyes feel tired due to overuse. Digital eye strain is a similar principle; however, it comes with the added stressor of staring at a backlit digital display like the one on your smartphone, laptop, tablet, and other devices.
Symptoms of digital eye strain may include:
Digital eye strain stems from forcing your eyes to focus at a single distance for hours at a time. But why is digital eye strain different from the strain you might experience from reading a book for too long?
The answer is that working on digital displays introduces additional elements that your eyes may find difficult to deal with.
On average, we blink 12 times a minute. However, when we spend time on computers and other digital displays, our blink rate dwindles down to approximately four times per minute. Blinking helps keep your eyes hydrated, so when we slow down our blink rate, we’re causing our eyes to dry out and tire more quickly.
Most digital displays emit blue light which tends to scatter, making it very difficult for the eyes to focus. In order to interpret blue light properly, your eyes have to work harder than they normally would. As a result, the light coming from digital displays can cause your eyes more strain then a normal book or non-digital close work would.
Even if you don’t require a correction for your near vision, you may benefit from computer glasses. Computer glasses offer a special type of coating that helps filter out blue light, allowing your eyes to relax a little bit and preventing eye strain.
Task lenses are similar to computer glasses but are designed for all sorts of up close, visually straining tasks, not just computer work. Task lenses are designed to help wearers focus on small print and other highly visual concentration tasks. They are similar to progressive lenses but are specifically designed to help reduce eye strain caused by prolonged digital device use and other visually strenuous tasks.
Make sure that your office or workspace is set up for the best visual experience. Your computer monitor should be slightly below eye level and roughly one arm’s length away from you. Try to angle your screen to reduce any glare or reflection off of your monitor, and keep your monitor free of dust, fingerprints or any kind of smudge that might make it more difficult for you to see.
When working with digital displays, always use the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a break from looking at your screen. Find an object roughly 20 feet away, and look at it for 20 seconds. By interrupting long stretches of near work with a few seconds of distance vision, you’re giving your eyes a little bit of respite and allowing them to work differently for a moment. This is the ocular equivalent of standing up to stretch your legs.
We offer a variety of devices that can reduce or eliminate digital eye strain. These include prescription and non-prescription computer glasses and specialized task lenses.
For more information about these products, and other ways you can reduce digital eye strain, please speak to your optometrist.
At Stoney Creek Eye Care & Eyewear Boutique our trusted team of eye doctors is committed to providing you with high-quality eye care, stylish frames, and personalized attention. We offer a wide variety of services, including:
We understand that life is hectic. We want to help make it a little simpler, which is why our centrally-located practice offers extended hours on Mondays and Saturdays. We’re also happy to directly bill most major insurance companies on your behalf. And on top of all that? We’ve got plenty of free parking. Stoney Creek Eye Care & Eyewear Boutique will always do whatever we can to make your life a little easier, located in the Health Science Building.