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The Impact of Digital Screens on Eye Health: Tips for Prevention and Management


Digital screens are everywhere: tablets, e-readers, smartphones, laptops, televisions, and even inside of your car. People use digital screens for everything and spend a significant amount of time using them. This blog post was written on a computer, and you’re reading it on some kind of electronic device. Many of us even work in front of computers for at least eight hours a day. 

All of this adds up to a significant amount of eye strain and eye health concerns related to the use of digital screens. Let’s take a look at the impact these technologies are having on eyesight and how these tips and eye health services manage eye strain.


What Impact Do Digital Screens Have on Eye Health?

Digital eye strain (DES) is the feeling of physical discomfort or tiredness in the eyes resulting from using digital devices for an extended period of time. Symptoms include headaches, dry eyes, blurry vision, light sensitivity, eye redness or irritation, difficulty focusing on faraway objects, and even painful throbbing around the eyes. 

Looking at text on a digital screen for a few hours may cause eye strain, but reading printed text on paper doesn’t. Several factors contribute to this, including the glare of the digital screen, poor lighting, poor posture, blinking less when looking at a digital screen, or a combination.


How to Maintain Healthy Eyes While Using Screens

Let’s be honest: None of us want to give up our electronic devices, and life would be significantly harder if we did, whether it would mean not being in contact with our loved ones or not being able to perform our jobs. While digital screens have an impact on eye health, it isn’t about completely removing the devices—it’s about managing how you’re using them.

Take breaks.

Your eyes aren’t designed to stare at an object directly in front of you all day. When you’re using a digital device, it’s important to incorporate breaks, even if you’re invested in what you’re reading, watching, or working on. 

Don’t worry; the breaks are quick—20 seconds, in fact. It’s the 20/20/20 rule. After 20 minutes of looking at a screen, look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to give your eyes a much-needed break. And remember to blink frequently. This will help keep your eyes moist and refocus your eyes. Blinking often can help you avoid dryness and eye strain.

Reduce blue light.

Blue light is emitted from digital screens and is known to cause damage to eyes. It can also disrupt your circadian rhythm by keeping you awake at night. To reduce blue light, turn on your phone’s nighttime settings and adjust your computer’s light settings.

You can also invest in blue light glasses, which help filter blue light. If you already wear glasses, you may be able to add a blue light filter to the lenses.

Ensure the room is well lit.

Did you know that less light is actually better to prevent eye strain when using screens? It seems counterintuitive, but when you’re working on a computer, less light is actually better. If the room is overly illuminated, it can make the room too bright when compared to your computer screen, resulting in screen reflections and a lot of visual discomfort.

To combat this, avoid fluorescent lighting if possible, hang curtains or install blinds on windows, and use low-voltage light bulbs or ambient lighting. And don’t forget to adjust the brightness of your computer screen!


Addressing Eye Health Concerns Related to Digital Screen Usage

One of the most important eye strain prevention and management strategies that you can do is to get regular eye exams. An optometrist can identify underlying issues that may be causing eye strain and recommend a course of action to prevent the issue from becoming worse over time. 

Optometrists and ophthalmologists work closely together, and depending on the eye issue, an optometrist may refer a patient to an ophthalmologist. Vision Integrated Partners supports patients with numerous eye health services, whether through a referral from an optometrist or through one of our internal optometrists.


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