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If you work an office job or spend hours on end watching TV one day, odds are you’ve experienced some of the effects of digital eye strain. This condition can manifest itself through dry and tired eyes, headaches, or even blurry vision, amongst other symptoms.  

Unfortunately, as our world grows more and more digital every day, so do the chances of people experiencing digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. But what causes this? And what steps can you take to prevent it?   

What causes digital eye strain?   

We can experience digital eye strain when viewing a screen for too long or too consistently. Typically, your blinking rate of 15-20 times a minute helps keep our eyes moisturized with tears. However, researchers have shown that we blink less than half of that amount when staring at a screen. The contrast between the text and background on a screen can be straining for your eyes. This situation, paired with the bright glare from a screen and poor viewing angles, is a recipe for eye strain. Digital eye strain symptoms can include:  

  • Sore, tired, burning, or itching eyes   
  • Dry eyes  
  • Blurred or double vision  
  • Sensitivity to light  
  • Headaches  
  • Eye twitching  
  • Neck and shoulder pain  
  • Red eyes  
  • Difficulty concentrating  

Thankfully, there are ways to reduce these symptoms or avoid them together! Here are seven tips to reduce digital eye strain.   

Adjust Lighting  

The critical aspect here is to pay attention to contrast. You don’t want your screen’s lighting clashing harshly with the surrounding area. If your room is brighter, then your screen should be brighter. Your screen’s brightness should be dimmed if your room is more unlit.   

Follow the 20/20/20 Rule  

You’ve probably heard this one before. Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This method is a great way to remember to take breaks, giving your eye muscles a break. In fact, both the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend this practice.   

Adjust Your Ergonomics  

Your workstation setup can profoundly affect your body – including your eyes. Make sure your screen is about an arm’s length away from your eyes, and the center is positioned about 10-15 degrees below eye level. Be sure to sit up tall and choose a chair that is comfortable with back support.  

Take Breaks  

While the 20/20/20 rule is excellent to ensure your eyes get some breaks, it’s essential to take some more extended breaks. A good practice is to take a 15-minute break every 2 hours from staring at your screen.   

Check Your Blinking  

Research has shown the adverse effects of blinking less when focusing on screens. Therefore, you must train yourself to blink more often when using screens to combat this. That blinking helps spread the tears across your eyes and prevents them from drying out or becoming irritated.   

Increase Type Size  

It’s not all about age here. No matter how old you are, reading small font types on a screen can harm your eye muscles. An easy way to combat this is to increase the text size on your screen or zoom in on the window.   

Get Regular Eye Exams  

Perhaps the most important step in preventing eye damage from digital screens is to schedule regular eye exams. These exams can ensure that we address any problems with your eyes early to avoid further damage. So, schedule your eye exam now with a trusted doctor like Drs. Gibson, Gibson, & Moore to keep your eyes healthy!  

Have questions about digital eye strain? Or simply wanting to make sure your eyes are being properly cared for by an optometrist in Lubbock? Get in touch with Drs. Gibson, Gibson, & Moore today for all your eye health needs!