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Digital Eye Strain

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Digital Eye Strain Presents Itself in Many Ways,

from Eye Fatigue to Symptoms Similar to Dry Eye

The continuous use of digital devices comes at a bit of a shock to our eyes. Evolution takes place over the course of thousands of years, and the reality is that our eyes are not yet evolutionarily adjusted to the demands imposed on them from digital displays.

Just about everyone who uses a computer, tablet, or phone has experienced symptoms associated with digital eye strain. Unfortunately, as these devices become more pervasive on our personal and professional lives, we are only seeing an upward trend in people complaining of digital eye strain.

When working at a computer (or other digital device), your eye has to focus with more intensity than it does otherwise. This is because of the way these devices work: backlit, with refresh rates that are eyes are not historically used to.

If you find yourself a frequent sufferer of digital eye strain, visit us for an assessment. We can provide tools, such as specialized glasses, and techniques that will help alleviate your discomfort.

If you spend prolonged periods working at a computer, you may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Eye fatigue
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain
  • A burning sensation in your eyes

You may have heard of the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This gives the focusing muscles that control your eye an opportunity to rest, helping reduce eye strain.

You can also make changes to the environment that you’re working/using the devices in. For most people, the optimal focusing distance for their eyes is about 31 inches away. Moving monitors, TV’s, etc. to that distance well help your eyes focus more naturally, reducing the demand on your focusing muscles.

Care should also be taken to ensure that the area you are working in is well lit. A well-lit work or reading space reduces how much your eyes need to strain in order to see clearly.

Lastly, investing in glasses or screen filters that reduce glare can have significant impacts on eye strain. The reason that most people find it easier to read a book or magazine (as opposed to a computer screen) is because those surfaces generally don’t produce much glare. Glare is jarring to the eye, forcing you to squint in order to properly see what you’re reading.

Recent studies have shown that blue light, which is close to UV light wavelengths on the light spectrum, has damaging effects on our eyes. While further research is being done in this area, there are many indications that it has both psychological and physical impacts on us.

It is known that blue light can disrupt our natural sleep cycle, as our mind believes that it is actually daylight that it is seeing.

What is being further studied are the physical impacts blue light has on our eyes.

Modern eyeglass lenses offer blue-filtering coatings, reducing how much blue light reaches your eye. For our patients that do not perform color-sensitive work, we recommend this option.

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