Digital eye strain or Computer Vision Syndrome is a group of eye and vision problems, that results from our use of digital devices, over an extended period of time. The visual problems can include eye strain headache, eye itching, tearing, dry eye syndrome, red eye etc. Your eyes may feel tired or uncomfortable in some cases.
The prevalence of digital eye strain is very common in both children and adults.
CAUSES OF DIGITAL EYE STRAIN.
For many reasons, reading text on a computer screen or digital device is often harder for the eyes than reading printed text. This is why working on a computer for a few hours may cause symptoms of digital eye strain, but reading a book may not.
Who is at risk for getting digital eye strain?
You may be at greater risk for digital eye strain if you:
- Spend a few hours or more a day at a computer or on a digital device.
- Sit too close to your computer or digital device screen.
- View your computer or digital device at the wrong angle.
- Have bad posture while using your computer or digital device.
- Those with underlying uncorrected refractive errors or vision problems.
- Don’t take breaks while you work.
Note: You may have an underlying problem with dry eye. This may make digital eye strain worse, or more likely to occur. Dry eye is more common in women than in men. It also becomes more common with age. Some medicines and health problems make dry eye more likely. For example, if you have thyroid disease or certain autoimmune diseases, you are also at greater risk of having dry eye.
The severity of symptoms may vary depending on:
- How long you have been using the computer or digital devices.
- Your underlying eye problems.
Symptoms may get worse if you don’t resolve the problem.
How is digital eye strain diagnosed?
Digital eye strain can be diagnosed by undergoing a detailed eye examination.
How is digital eye strain treated?
Treatment includes creating a better work environment.
- By using Blue Cut, Anti -Glare or photochromic lenses which are designed to block the harmful UV rays emitted from our digital devices.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away at something 20 feet from you or your digital device, for at least 20 seconds.
- Enlarge the text on your computer screen or digital device.
- Reduce glare from the light sources in your environment.
- Think about using a screen glare filter.
- Place your screen so that the center of it is about 4 to 5 inches below eye level (about 15 to 20 degrees from the horizontal).
- Place your screen about 20 to 28 inches from your eye. (About arm’s length)
- Remember to blink often.
- Fix your chair height so your feet can rest comfortably on the floor. Don’t slump over the computer screen.
Note: Making these changes may help eliminate digital eye strain in many people.
Your eye care provider will also need to treat any hidden health problems that may be adding to your digital eye strain. For instance, you might need a new pair of glasses. If you have an underlying dry eye problem, your eye care provider might advise the following:
- Using lubricating drops.
- Treating allergies, if you have them.
- Creating a more humid work environment etc.