The coronavirus crisis has forced many people to rely heavily on computer screens and digital devices, not only to complete work projects, but to connect with friends and family and shop. How does this increased dependency on digital screens affect our eyes? Here’s what you need to know about digital eye strain. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.
Thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing and working from home, we are more dependent upon our digital devices than ever before. Whether you are working from home, using your computer or phone to connect socially, or binge watching new shows, you are exposing yourself to a significant amount of blue light from the LED screens. Two hours of blue light exposure can trigger digital eye strain, so what happens when we spend nearly every waking hour in front of a computer?
Digital Eye Strain Symptoms
While digital eye strain does cause blurry vision, itchy eyes, and light sensitivity, other symptoms can be difficult to attribute to digital eye strain because they affect other functions apart from the eyes. These include:
- Neck aches
- Sore shoulders
- Sore back
- Trouble concentrating
Although digital eye strain seems like more of an annoyance than a serious medical event, over time, digital eye strain can seriously diminish your productivity. According to the Kazi Personal Control Lighting Study, continual exposure to digital screens results in a 15-minute reduction in work time per day, with some estimates indicating up to a 20 percent loss in daily productivity!
To avoid digital eye strain, you must take a few precautions that help to minimize the impact of blue light on your vision. Unfortunately, reducing the amount of screen time isn’t necessarily possible, but there are other effective options.
Make your workstation more eye-friendly.
Your computer screen’s angle isn’t in a comfortable position, you’re more susceptible to digital eye strain. Make sure your screen is approximately 20 inches from your eyes, with the screen angled upward and below your eye level. If you’re using additional materials, have them alongside your computer in a position that doesn’t require continual head movement to read them.
Make your lights comfortable.
Continual squinting is a sign of poor lighting. Make sure the brightness of your screen is roughly the same level as your ambient light. Also, position your room light source in a way that the glare isn’t in your eyes.
Adopt the 20-20 rule.
Have you ever noticed that you don’t blink as often when you’re looking at a computer screen? Blinking serves to keep your eyes lubricated and moist, and also clears the debris from the ocular surface. You can make sure your eyes are properly moist and flushed by taking a break every 20 minutes and close your eyes for 20 seconds.
The 20-20-20 rule also helps reduce eye strain. This rule involves taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to focus on an object 20 feet away. This action helps to refocus the eyes, and can alleviate symptoms of eye strain, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Try blue-light-blocking glasses.
Computer glasses, also called blue-light-blocking glasses, filter the blue light from LED screens that contributes to digital eye strain. These are a great tool for people whose work mainly involves reading and writing text. However, these glasses might be less-than-optimal for graphic designers or people who work with photographic images. This is because blue-light-blocking glasses affect the way color is perceived.
OptiExpress offers eye care services, designer eyewear, and accessories that help keep your eyes comfortable and healthy. If you think that blue-light-blocking glasses could be right for you, or if you suffer from eye strain, please visit one of our South Florida eye care centers and discuss your concerns with one of our certified optometrists.
OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington has been one of Ft. Myers’s distinguished optometry specialists for more than 20 years. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.