Do I have Digital Eye Strain (Computer Vision Syndrome)?
Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome as it’s more commonly known, is a term for a number of eye symptoms that result from too much time spent in front of digital screens.
What Causes Digital Eye Strain?
Modern life! Computer screens emit blue light which affects our circadian rhythms and melatonin production. Prolonged digital eye strain comes from looking at digital screens during the day and can have a negative effect on our health, including difficulty sleeping.
What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?
Your eyes will hurt from the strain if you spend hours each day looking at the little on-screen pixels. This can cause headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder discomfort. Neck and shoulder discomfort is also common due to bad posture, poor desk ergonomics and incorrect alignment while using digital devices and is sometimes referred to as part of computer vision syndrome by healthcare professionals. Too much time in front of a screen can cause many symptoms, including:
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Dry eye
- Eye discomfort
- Eye fatigue
- Eye itching
- Eye redness
- Eye tearing
- Neck and shoulder pain
Luckily, the majority of computer vision syndrome symptoms are short-term or temporary. Typically computer vision syndrome symptoms will go away once you have stopped using your computer, laptop, or other screened devices. However, some symptoms may last longer with more extended, or increased, computer use or if you have an underlying eye problem.
About 80% of American adults say they use digital devices for more than two hours per day, and nearly 67% use two or more devices at the same time.
How Long Can Digital Eye Strain Last?
Unfortunately it doesn’t take long to develop digital eye strain, and after a couple of hours spent in front of the screen, you can get 1 hour or more of eye strain.
This issue is compounded for knowledge workers who spend an average of 8+ hours in front of a screen. If you are able to limit yourself to less than a couple of hours on a device each day, your computer vision syndrome symptoms should only last 10-20 minutes but this will vary person to person. Contact us for an appointment if your eye strain persists even after you stop your screen time.
Can Digital Eye Strain Be Permanent?
Fortunately, digital eye strain isn’t permanent. The signs of computer vision syndrome may get better with time as a result of developing better, and new screen habits. Read the below optometrist verified tips.
The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer, either in the office or working from home.
6 Tips to Correct Digital Eye Strain
Various methods exist for treating digital screen-related vision issues; however, most can be diminished by getting regular eye care and modifying how the screen is viewed. Individuals who do not require eyeglasses for their daily activities may find that glasses designed specifically for computer use can help them see better and feel less strain. In addition, if your prescription isn’t optimal for digital viewing it can contribute to computer eye syndrome. Try a combination of one or more of these tips.
1. Relax Your Eyes
- Cover Your Eyes. Block out the light with an eye mask, soft material, or use your hands to cover your eyes.
- Palming. Warm your hands by rubbing them together quickly for around 5 seconds, then press the heel of your palms just below your eyes (where you can feel your eye socket bone).
2. Dry Eye Products and Solutions
Artificial tears, or eye drops, are a common treatment for dry eyes but the relief can often be short-term. Prescribed steroid eye drops cannot be used for an extended period of time without side effects. When using eye drops, we recommend preservative-free artificial tears.
However, there is now a better, more effective treatment that is safe, quick and has amazing anti-aging benefits as well.
Radio Frequency is an advanced heat and laser technology that helps to treat dry eye disease. It also has added beauty benefits and can be an effective treatment for reducing the appearance of:
- Facial Wrinkles
- Fine lines around the eyes
- Facial creases
- Loose skin
It gently heats the skin, which helps open the oil glands on the eyelids – this prevents your tears from evaporating prematurely. It also promotes collagen and elastin activity around the eyes. This helps to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes as well as the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles in and around the eyes. This treatment can eliminate dry eye related eye fatigue, stinging and itchiness, and will leave you with an improved skin tone and a natural glow. After a radio frequency session, you can return to your normal daily activities immediately following the treatment. Radio Frequency treats dry eyes, has substantial anti-aging benefits, is comfortable, safe & non-invasive and can take as little as 30 minutes.
3. Glasses Help Eye Strain
Whether you normally wear glasses or not, there are several types of lens filters or coatings that can help to prevent eye strain from happening in the first place, or to reduce additional symptoms that come with it. They are ideal to wear when you are in front of any type of digital screen. We are exposed to all kinds of light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation every day from sources such as sunlight, fluorescent lights, computers, laptops, smartphones, and TV, therefore full time wear of these glasses can be beneficial.
- Blue Blocker Lenses. Available with prescription glasses or without. They help reduce the amount of blue light your eyes are exposed to everyday. For more information on blue blocker lenses check out our article here.
- Anti-Fatigue Lenses. Ask your optometrist about lenses that help reduce strain on your focusing system if you have difficulty focusing on near objects. These lenses relax your eyes during near work.
- Anti-Glare Coating. A coating that practically eliminates all reflections from the front and back surfaces of your lenses. This allows more light to pass through into your eyes and eliminates distracting glare. The majority of individuals feel that anti-reflective or anti-glare coatings on their glasses are well worth the additional money.
4. 20-20-20 Rule
It’s easy to get absorbed in our day and forget to take a break, so set yourself a timer. Set your timer for 20 minutes and every time the alert goes off, look at an object around 20 feet away for a full 20 seconds. This will relax your eye muscles, reset your focusing system and prevent your prescription from increasing. Set the reminder on your smartwatch, or phone to help prevent computer vision syndrome.
5. Lifestyle Tips
With work from home more prevalent than ever, many of us now have more control over our work environment! To help prevent computer vision syndrome, try to implement one or more of the below:
- Humidifier. Create moisture in your home or office by using a humidifier. This will help with preventing dry eyes.
- Contact Care. Take out your contact lenses after 12 hours of use. Wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time can cause your eyes to dry out. Do not sleep in your contact lenses.
- Adjust the Lighting. Ensure you have lots of lighting and that the room is softly lit.
- Workspace Optimization. Making these easy, small adjustments to your working environment can make a big difference.
- Have your computer at least 40cm away from your eyes.
- Don’t hunch over your screen, sit straight and if you are using a chair, correct the height so your feet can easily rest on the floor.
- Consider a screen glare filter.
- Enlarge the text on your computer or digital device.
- Certain digital screens, such as iPads and e-readers, can be viewed at arm’s length or slightly farther away to reduce the amount of digital eye strain experienced.
6. Regular Eye Exams
Your eyes, just like the rest of your body, are incredibly interconnected. Just like too much screen time can cause back and shoulder aches, certain eye conditions can cause symptoms that appear in other parts of your body. Regular eye exams are crucial in detecting many eye conditions that can be treated if caught early, such as near and farsightedness, astigmatism, cataracts and glaucoma.