Digital Eye Strain
Sources: Time Health , Canadian Association of Optometrists , American Optometric Association
Screens are no longer optional. If you’re not driving, exercising or sleeping, you’re probably staring at one. Most American workers spend 7 to 14 hours of screen time in a single day. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use.
Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain symptoms. Depending on your condition, your eyes could be exerting extra effort or forced to work harder to maintain a clear image when viewing the screen.
“There is no evidence that eye strain leads to chronic issues or harm. However, it is theoretically possible we could find out years from now that too much screen-time messes with our eyes or vision. But for now, short-term symptoms—like headaches, eye pressure and dry eyes—are your biggest worries.” says Dr. Joshua Dunaief, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
To help reduce the risk of digital eye strain, consider the following tips:
- Position your screen about an arm’s length from your eyes and 20 degrees below eye level.
- Set color and contrast tones to suit your eyes, and match the brightness of your screen with your surroundings.
- Minimize reflected glare on your screen by dimming the lights in the room if possible and consider using a protective anti-glare screen cover.
- Position your screen so that it sits perpendicular to windows and other bright light sources. If you are having trouble locating the source of the glare, turn off your monitor to reveal a darkened screen, and tilt/swivel your monitor until the reflection disappears.
- Keep your screen free of fingerprints and dust, as both can reduce visual clarity.
- If you alternate between looking at your screen and paperwork, consider obtaining a clipboard that attaches alongside your monitor so that the two are at the same working distance.
- Optometrists recommend the use of the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away to give your eyes a much-needed break.
- To ensure comfortable and efficient computer usage, visit your eye care professional for a thorough eye health exam.