With children back at school, hopefully for the rest of the academic year, and businesses starting to reopen and get their staff back into the office we’ll all be grateful for a little more personal interaction and a little less screen time.
However, after months of sitting hunched at our home desks, locked in to Zoom meetings or Teams lessons the one thing we’ve noticed is an increase in digital eye strain.
What is digital eye strain?
There’s actually a technical term for it, asthenopia, but you may know it as eye fatigue, eye strain, or maybe computer vision syndrome.
It’s caused by increased time on digital devices; laptops, phones and tablets. Whilst you’re looking at these screens you’re not blinking as much which causes dry eyes. You’re often focusing on one point for long periods of time. And you’re having longer exposure to the blue light emitted from these devices.
What are the symptoms?
- Dry Eyes
- Difficulty focusing
- Sore, irritated eyes
- Eyes that are slow to focus
- Excessive tears
- Blurred or double vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Pain in your neck, shoulders or back
- Tiredness, a feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open.
Top tips to prevent digital eye strain
- Practise the 20-20-20 rule
Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds as this will help rest the muscles in your eyes.
- Take regular physical breaks
Don’t just take a lunch break away from the screen. Get up and away from your desk at regular intervals throughout the day, whether to visit the bathroom, make a drink or enjoy some fresh air.
- Adjust your screen position
Make sure the top of your monitor is slightly below eye level so you’re looking downward.
- Adjust your display settings
Your screen should be about the same brightness as the environment around you. Use the dark settings or lower brightness if needed to reduce glare. Or make sure you’re working in a well-lit space so your eyes won’t have to work so hard to compensate. You can also alter text size to make it more comfortable to read.
- Watch out for reflecting light
Light reflecting off your screen and nearby surfaces can increase eye strain. Move any sources of light which cause glare, or consider changing the angle of your computer screen.
- Blink more regularly
Making a conscious effort to blink more frequently. This will refresh your eyes and stop them getting too dry.
- Wear your glasses
If you have been prescribed glasses or contact lenses, or have purchased reading glasses from a retailer, use them whenever you’re at your screen as instructed by your optician.
- Book an eye test
If the problem still persist book an eye test. You may need corrective lenses or a change to your prescription. We recommend that regular Computer users have their eyes tested every year to minimise the risk of developing eye problems.
If you or your child are experiencing problems, or have any concerns, with using digital devices please book an appointment with our Optometrist on 01628 663055