According to recent research, up to 65% of people who regularly use computer devices - including laptops, tablets and smartphones - suffer from digital eye strain. Digital eye strain (or computer vision syndrome) encompasses a wide range of troublesome symptoms, from headaches and blurred vision to tired and sore eyes.
Part of the problem is that the pixels making up text on digital devices have less contrast and definition than standard print. That means your eyes have more difficulty adjusting and maintaining focus. So, what can be done to avoid digital eye strain?
Get your eyes tested
Having the right glasses can make a big difference. While reading glasses are perfect for seeing at a normal reading distance, they’re often too strong to comfortably view a computer screen at arm’s length range. Specially prescribed computer glasses or varifocals can be a great help.
Take a break
Ideally, you shouldn’t spend more than 45 minutes on a computer without a break. It’s also a good idea to regularly look away from your computer screen to help relax focus. A good tip is to follow the “20-20-20 rule”: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something at least 20 feet away.
Staring at a screen means that your eyes blink less frequently, leaving them prone to dryness and irritation. Blinking 10 times every 10 minutes helps prevent dryness. If your eyes continue to feel irritated, ask your optometrist about artificial tears or other dry eye treatments.
Reduce distracting reflections from the screen by carefully positioning your computer at right angles to any windows. Also, use blinds to avoid glare from windows directly in your line of vision.
Adjust your settings
Try adjusting the brightness levels and text size on your screen to make viewing more comfortable.
If you have any questions about digital eye strain, ask your optometrist for advice.