Posted by: Carolinas Center for Sight in Eye Health, Uncategorized

Depending on the type of job you have and how you spend your free time, the number of hours that you’re in front of a digital screen can be shocking. Most adults spend at least several hours per weekday on a computer at work and then come home to play games on their tablet or text friends and family until bedtime. We may not think about it consciously, but this level of screen use is actually taking atoll on our eyes.

If you’ve noticed unusual changes with your eyesight lately, computer eye strain might be to blame. Also called computer vision syndrome, it’s a condition that is occurring more and more frequently as people integrate digital devices into every part of their daily life. Let’s learn more about computer eye strain and uncover how you can keep using the devices you love while keeping your vision healthy.

What Is Computer Eye Strain?

When you really think about it, the use of digital devices is a relatively new concept compared to how long humans have walked the planet, and our eyes aren’t necessarily used to being able to cope with this. Ultimately, extended time on the computer, a tablet, a cell phone, or any digital device causes our eyes to work harder due to a number of scenarios including:

  • Varying levels of contrast
  • The presence of glare
  • Reflections on the screen
  • Unusual viewing distances or angles 

Looking at a screen isn’t as easy on our eyes as reading a book, and as a result, we can experience a range of symptoms. In most cases, individuals will notice a variety of issues that may not seem like much at first, but over time can add up to some serious discomfort. Eye strain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and blurred vision may creep up on you from time to time, indicating that computer eye strain might be at play.


Tips To Consider

Avoiding computer eye strain doesn’t mean you have to go back to pen and paper for everything, but there are some things you can do to help lessen these uncomfortable symptoms. Some ophthalmologists will recommend a separate pair of computer glasses that are designed to help optimize your vision when looking at a laptop or desktop. If you think about it, many prescriptions are created for far distances or up close vision, but not the in-between zones where our digital devices live.

Others recommend taking a 20/20/20 approach to using screens in an effort to give our eyes a break throughout the day. Simply view something that’s 20 feet away for 20seconds, and do this every 20 minutes. While it seems odd, this actually allows the eyes to rest and shift their focus to other objects, allowing you to avoid many of the symptoms associated with computer eye strain.

Ultimately, computer eye strain most likely won’t lead to permanent vision issues, although some people do have symptoms severe enough to necessitate the integration of vision therapy into their daily routine. If you find yourself on a digital device for large portions of the day, speak with your ophthalmologist to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to keep your eyes healthy for years to come.