Eye strain is a common problem in individuals who spend most of their day working on digital devices. However, watching television for hours, using fluorescent lights, and not exercising can also contribute to the development of the eye condition. Fortunately, starting healthy habits and taking a break from your computers, tablets, or phones can help you avoid eye strain.
A local provider of LipiFlow treatmentshares tips and exercises you can do to prevent eye strain.
What Is Digital Eye Strain?
Also known as computer vision syndrome, digital eye strain refers to a group of problems related to one’s vision and eyes. It could be a result of extended exposure to computers, tablets and other devices. The more that you spend time in front of your screens, the worse the symptoms of the condition gets. Keep in mind that reading a printed page is significantly different than viewing a digital screen. Usually, the letters on these devices are not as contrasted, and glare or reflections can make seeing the words even more difficult.
When you are using a computer or tablet, your eyes may need to work harder than it should. Because of the added visual demands of computer and digital screen viewing, people become more prone to developing vision-related symptoms. If you have uncorrected vision issues, you may experience worse symptoms. With regular eye health exams, you can keep track of the condition of your eyes and vision.
Compared to other reading or writing activities, viewing distances and angles used for computer work are typically different. The eye focusing and movement requirements for digital screen viewing can put more demands on your visual system. Even if you are wearing prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, you may still find it difficult to view your computer screen if they are not ideal for its viewing distances. You may have to tilt your head at weird angles because your eyewear is not made for computer use. Poor posture while using your computer can result in muscle spasms and neck, shoulder, or back pain.
What Are Its Common Symptoms?
The top symptoms of computer vision syndrome are eye strain, headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain. Poor lighting, improper viewing distance, and glare on screens usually trigger these symptoms. However, you may also experience them due to poor sitting posture and uncorrected vision problems. Wearing the right eyeglass frames or lenses can help in easing symptoms associated with digital eye strain.
How frequent or worse you experience visual symptoms usually depends on your visual abilities and how long you spend time in front of digital devices. When not corrected, vision problems, such as astigmatism and farsightedness, poor eye focus, and presbyopia, can cause visual symptoms to occur. Fortunately, a lot of these symptoms are only temporary and will reduce once you have stopped using your device. However, some may still experience reduced visual abilities like blurry distance vision even after computer work.
Eye specialists can diagnose digital eye strain during eye health exams. Your eye doctor may look into your history to determine the symptoms you may be experiencing, and if you have any general health problems. They will check if you are taking any medication or if environmental factors are contributing to digital eye strain-related symptoms. They may also test the focus, movement, and coordination of your eyes.
How Can You Prevent It?
Take a Break From Your Phone
We understand how many people feel that they can’t live without their phones. However, reducing your screen time can help reduce eye strain. Now and then take a break from using your phone. You can turn it off, put it into airplane mode, or even leave it in another room. Instead of using your device, spend time with your family or doing a hobby like painting. Any activity that does not require staring at a digital screen would be great.
Give Your Eyes Some Rest While Working
Sometimes you may forget to take a break while working on your computer. Even small breaks can do wonders for your eyes. Experts recommend following the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes while working on your computer, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Another good thing you can do is to get up, do some stretching, breathing exercises, or even take a walk.
Make Blinking a Habit
People tend to forget to blink while in front of digital screens. Unlike what many believe, blinking is not always done unconsciously. We sometimes forget to do it when we are focused on doing a certain task, such as using computers. Blinking helps in keeping your eyes moisturized and preventing dry eyes. It coats your eye with a thin, fresh layer of moisture.
Choose the Right Eyewear
As mentioned, wearing the proper eyeglass frame and lenses can help you avoid experiencing digital eye strain. If you’ve been constantly experiencing eye strain lately, it may be best to see your eye doctor. Ask your specialist if wearing different glasses or any special eyewear can help with the problem.
Adjust the Settings of Your Computer Screen
Adjusting the size and contrast of the text on your screen may help in making your eyes more comfortable while working on your computer. Keeping your screen free from dust may also contribute to better comfort. When your screen is dirty, it’s harder to see what’s on the display screen, and dust can also potentially irritate your eyes.
Use Artificial Tears
Using over-the-counter eye drops can give your eyes some comfort while working in front of screens. You have different artificial tear options, but it would help to ask your eye doctor which one is ideal for you.
See Your Eye Doctor Regularly
Regular eye doctor visits are essential in keeping your eyes in good condition. Remember that uncorrected vision conditions can increase the likelihood of developing digital eye strain or worsen its symptoms. Your eye doctor can recommend how frequently you need to get your eyes checked, which usually depends if you have any existing eye conditions.
If you’re feeling problems with your vision, contact Excel Eyecare OD PA immediately. We offer a wide range of eye care services, including LipiFlow for dry eye disease, contact lens exams, and LASIK eye surgery. Give us a call at 980-399-6071 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.