How to combat digital eyestrain

Jan 18, 2021 in Eye Care

Man using laptop wearing glasses

Digital Eyestrain and how to combat it

How many hours do you spend each day in front of the screen? Screen time could include use of your laptop or computer, your smartphone, tablet, even the television. As our lives are increasingly governed by our devices, digital eyestrain has become a common problem.

What is digital eyestrain?

Staring at screens all day can have an adverse impact on your eyes. When you work at your computer, your eyes are constantly moving across the screen, shifting from the keyboard to the monitor and focusing on the changing images on the screen.

The harsh blue light emitted by your smartphone, or the bright ‘backlight’ of your tablet or monitor, can lead to eyestrain. Common symptoms of digital eyestrain include:

  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Double vision
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Blurred vision

Technology developed for a digital world

ZEISS developed DuraVision® BlueProtect, a coating specially designed for those who spend a lot of time indoors in front of computer, tablet or TV screens. The coating reflects parts of the blue-violet light emitted from screens to minimise exposure for the wearer and so greatly reduce possible eyestrain. Ask at your local Leightons practice for more information on the ZEISS DuraVision® BlueProtect coating.

Technology companies are also trying to help address the harm done by blue light. Apple are at the forefront of this, after releasing an update a few years ago to include ‘Night Shift’.

Night Shift is an optional feature that is designed to minimise the blue light on your device. As well as causing eyestrain, Apple found that exposure to blue light in the evening in particular can also make it harder to fall asleep, as the light level is similar to outdoors on a cloudy day, when your body naturally thinks it should be awake.

To combat this, Night Shift gradually lessens the backlight of the device to a dimmer yellow light, which is much less strenuous for your eyes in an artificially-lit room. It will also therefore reduce the symptoms of digital eyestrain.

Prevention is better…

There are a few preventative measures you can take to combat digital eyestrain:

  • Glare is the biggest reason for eyestrain when you’re using your digital device. Adjust the brightness of your screen and also consider getting an anti-glare screen.
  • Place your monitor at least 20 inches (51 centimetres) from your eyes.
  • Work with optimal lighting and try to avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights.
  • Take breaks frequently, blink your eyes and look away from your computer screen. Blinking helps replenish the tear film and prevents dry eyes. Blink rate is significantly reduced when using a screen as compared to other visual tasks including reading from paper. A reduced blink rate is what causes dry, gritty or red eyes when working long hours on a screen.
  • Remember the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at an object 20 feet (6 metres) away.
  • If you wear contact lenses, extended periods spent staring at your screen can dry them out. Talk to your optician about getting lenses that suit your work style and also ask about a suitable lens lubricant.

Book your eye examination

Digital eyestrain can take its toll on your eyesight eventually. Apart from taking preventive measures like those listed above, you should also ensure that your eyes are in good health.

The best way to determine your eye health is to go for your regular eye examinations, you can book online or call our Dedicated Patient Support team on 0800 40 20 20.