Digital Eye Strain

Have you heard of Digital Eye Strain Syndrome?


A recent survey of 10,000 individuals of all ages showed that a majority who use computer screens for two or more hours per day have complaints of the “Digital Eye Strain Syndrome”. The symptoms include: dry, irritated, sometimes red eyes; blurred vision; neck, back and shoulder pain; and occasionally headaches.

Surprisingly, the syndrome is more common in people in their 20s, who are more likely to use multiple screens at the same time. Overall, 53% of people who usually use only one screen throughout the day report the symptoms, and 75% of people who typically use two or more screens at the same time.

The problem is that focusing on a computer or phone screen is more difficult for our eyes than focusing on a fixed object, like letters on a printed page. Our eyes evolved to allow us to focus on fixed distance images. But when looking at a screen, ours eyes are constantly trying to focus on a group of moving pixels, which is a greater challenge. Thus, our eyes tend to tire easier.

Also, it has been noted that people focusing on a screen tend to blink less, so the eyes tend to dry out. And the light from the screen, as we have noted before, is more strongly composed of blue light. There is some early research that long-term exposure to this blue light (closer to the ultraviolet part of the spectrum), may, over time, cause some damage to the retinal cells in the back of the eyeball.

Here are some measures you can take to minimize the problem:

1) Follow the 20-20-20 rule

Every 20 minutes, you should take your eyes from the screen for at least 20 seconds, and look into the distance at least 20 feet away (6 meters). This allows the focusing muscles in your eye to relax (If you can, get up and stretch at the same time.)

2) Minimize other bright lights in the room

Avoid strong overhead lights, especially blue fluorescent tubes found in many offices. Keep the light in the room a little less bright, and use incandescent lighting (yellowish) if you can. The computer monitor should be the brightest object in the room.

3) Minimize screen glare

Avoid bright outside lights on your screen, and keep the screen clean to decrease glare. When outside, try not to use your phone in bright sunlight. Move to the shade when you can to use the phone.

4) Keep the computer screen the right distance

The screen should be slightly below eye level (so you don’t strain your neck), and optimally about ½ to ¾ meters from your eyes (about an arm’s length). The screen should not be tilted.

5) Remember to blink

If your eyes feel dry, you may not be blinking enough. Lubricating eye drops can help. Make sure you use the mildest drops. Do not use the stronger drops with harsh ingredients that promise to “get the red out”,

6) Consider computer glasses

If you use glasses, make sure they have an anti-reflective coating to minimize glare. If you continue to have problems, talk to your eye doctor about special glasses that can minimize the symptoms.

Should you wish to find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, visit our website:

See also in ProcuraMed:

Photokeratitis: sunburn of the eye

How the wrong light can ruin falling asleep


Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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