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Digital Eye Strain

Digital Eye Strain: Helping Your Eyes Handle the Digital World

You can’t really escape digital displays or screens in this day and age. They’re usually the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing we see at night. We use screens for work, entertainment, to get directions or select music in our cars, we even use them to find our favourite store in the mall.

Technology has evolved much faster that the human body and our eyes are struggling to keep up. What exactly is digital eye strain? And how, in this digital age, do we protect our eyes from it?

The Basics of Digital Eye Strain

The concept of eye strain is not new. After a long day of reading a book or maybe hand-writing notes, your eyes start to grow tired. This is a result of your eye muscles focusing on a single field of vision for an extended period of time.

Imagine holding your arm up in the air all day. Sure, it’s not difficult to hold it up there at first. But after a few hours, your muscles would be exhausted, and you’d be desperate to put it in any other position. The same is true for eye muscles; keeping them focused on a single field of vision without breaks for an extended period of time causes fatigue, soreness, and other symptoms.

Digital eye strain takes this condition and exacerbates it with technology.

How Blue Light Affects Digital Eye Strain

Light comes in different wavelengths. Blue light is one such wavelength, commonly emitted by digital displays like computer screens and mobile phones. This wavelength has a tendency to scatter, making it difficult for the eye to focus and understand. As a result, your eyes have to work extra hard to see the material in front of them; causing them to fatigue sooner.

Preventing and Reducing Digital Eye Strain

There is no real cure for digital eye strain; digital displays are part of our society, and it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere. There are, however, some strategies you can apply to reduce, and to a certain degree, prevent digital eye strain.

Blue light is a significant factor in digital eye strain. Filtering out blue light can make focusing easier for your eyes, and help relieve your symptoms. Lenses with blue light filters are an effective way to reduce eye strain every time you use the computer.

Every 20 minutes or so, take a break from looking at your computer. Find an object that’s roughly 20 feet away from you and look at it for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to work differently for a moment. It’s a similar idea to getting up to stretch your legs.

Make your workspace work for you. Your screen should be about an arm’s length away from your face. If possible, move your screen to a position that eliminates glare. It may also help to dim the lights a little bit.

Digital Eye Strain Symptoms

Digital eye strain affects more than just your eyes; patients often describe headaches, neck aches, and back pain. Sometimes the eyelids can begin to feel heavy as if you just can’t keep them open. It’s also very common to experience dry eyes, excessive tearing, stinging or itchy eyes, and reduced blinking.

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