Do you remember a time at work, school, or in your free time, where your eyes felt tired and sore? These are common symptoms of computer eye strain (also known as digital eye strain). Below are some of the causes, symptoms, and solutions to computer eye strain.
What Is Computer Eye Strain?
Computer eye strain is experienced by many people following extended use of digital screens. This condition is even more common in offices, where the average American worker spends seven hours a day on a computer. The amount of time spent using computers is not the sole cause of eye strain, however, and a variety of factors can affect your vision.
Causes of Computer Eye Strain
- Overly dim or bright room lighting
- Glare caused by screens
- Poor distance from screens
- Poor ergonomics
- Uncorrected vision problems
- Continuous reading
- Stress or fatigue
- Circulating air (Fans and air conditioning)
- A combination of multiple factors
- Not blinking enough
We know what causes digital eye strain, but how can we recognize it? There are many symptoms to watch for when using your digital devices for extended amounts of time.
Symptoms of Computer Eye Strain
- Tired, sore eyes
- Watery or dry eyes
- Blurred vision
- Sore neck or shoulders
- Sensitivity to light
- Difficulty focusing
Staring at your computer all day won’t permanently damage your eyes, but digital eye strain can be painful and irritating. While resting your eyes can help them recover, it isn’t always an option. Thankfully, there are several techniques to help reduce or eliminate eye strain.
How Can You Alleviate Eye Strain?
Computer eye strain is caused by the time you spend with screens and your environment. Shaking up your routine with the 20/20/20 rule, ergonomic changes, and computer glasses are your best options to reduce or prevent eye strain.
The 20/20/20 Rule
The 20/20/20 rule is a system of scheduled breaks for your vision. Every 20 minutes, you should take a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away. This gives your eyes a break to focus on something other than a screen. This technique can be used alongside others for increased relief.
- Adjust the lighting of your room
- Increase the contrast on your screens
- Sit an arm’s length away from your screen
- Adjust your posture (No slouching!)
- Increase the font size of your text
While these are great methods to prevent or reduce eye strain, these techniques may slip from your mind. Computer glasses, on the other hand, can provide consistent protection to your eyes while at work, home, or school.
Computer glasses can be an effective way to prevent digital eye strain at all times while using computers, smartphones, and tablets.
What Are The Benefits?
- Blue-light filter
- Anti-glare coating
Computer glasses offer additional protection against the harm of digital eye strain. The main benefits of these glasses are the blue-light filters and anti-glare coating of the lenses. Similar to your regular eyeglasses, computer glasses come in a variety of frames and lenses.
Are Computer Glasses the Same as Reading Glasses?
Both reading glasses and computer glasses help to protect your eyes, but there are key differences between them:
- Reading glasses typically require a prescription
- Computer glasses do not require a prescription
- Reading glasses are usually required to correct the effects of presbyopia
- Computer glasses focus on eliminating blue light & glare from screens
Computer glasses do not need a prescription but can accompany your current prescription. If you’re interested in discussing computer glasses or have any symptoms of digital eye strain, speak with your local optometrist.
What to Do if You’re Experiencing Symptoms of Computer Eye Strain
Book an appointment with your optometrist if you’re experiencing any persisting symptoms of computer eye strain. At your appointment, your optometrist will assess your eye health through a series of tests to help to uncover any underlying causes.
Diagnosing Computer Eye Strain
At times, the symptoms of eye strain can be caused by an underlying condition. During your examination, several steps will be taken to assess your visual health including:
- Reviewing your medical history
- A comprehensive exam
We recommend you continue to use the following techniques to help with the uncomfortable symptoms caused by computer eye strain as you wait for your optometry appointment:
Managing Discomfort Caused by Computer Eye Strain
- Use the 20/20/20 rule
- Utilize comfortable room lighting
- Sit an arm’s length away from your screen
- Increase the contrast of your screen’s display
- Keep your screen free of dust & fingerprints
Keep Your Eyes Healthy
Understanding the causes and symptoms of computer eye strain is important in preventing pain and discomfort. Follow preventive measures to ensure eye comfort while using screens, and if you experience any persisting discomfort to your eyes or vision, contact your optometrist.