Digital Eye Strain: What It Is, What Causes It, and How to Prevent It

Sep 20, 2022 | Digital Eye Strain

We’ve all been there—staring at a screen for hours on end, whether it’s your laptop, your phone, or the TV. While there’s no denying that screens are a big part of our lives, too much screen time can lead to digital eye strain. This is a condition that can cause a host of problems, including dry eyes, tired eyes, headache, and neck pain. In this blog post, we’ll explore what digital eye strain is, what causes it, and how you can prevent it. 

What is digital eye strain? 

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a condition that is caused by staring at screens for long periods of time. If you work at a desk all day or spend a lot of time looking at your phone, you may be at risk of developing digital eye strain. Symptoms of digital eye strain include: 

  • Dry eyes 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Headaches 
  • Neck pain 
  • Eye fatigue 

The symptoms of digital eye strain can be mild to severe, and they may resolve on their own or persist even after you’ve stopped using screens. If you experience any of these symptoms after looking at screens for long periods of time, you should see an eye doctor rule out other conditions such as dry eye disease.  

What causes digital eye strain?  

One of the main culprits behind digital eye strain is blue light exposure. Blue light is a type of light that is emitted by screens like laptops, phones, and TVs. When we’re exposed to blue light for extended periods of time, it can cause damage to our eyes and disrupt our sleep patterns. Additionally, when we stare at screens for long periods of time, we tend to blink less often, which can lead to dry eyes. If you wear contact lenses, you may be especially susceptible to dry eyes from too much screen time.  

Preventing digital eye strain  

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent or reduce the symptoms of digital eye strain.  

Take breaks 

Every 20 minutes or so, look away from your screen for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break. Try the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  

Adjust your lighting 

Reduce glare by making sure your screen isn’t too bright or too dim. You may also want to adjust the position of your computer screen to avoid having light shining directly into your eyes.  

Blink more often 

As mentioned earlier, staring at screens can cause us to blink less often, leading to dry eyes. To help keep your eyes lubricated, make a conscious effort to blink more often when you’re looking at screens.  

See your doctor 

As mentioned earlier, if you experience symptoms of digital eye strain that don’t go away after taking breaks or adjusting your lighting/blinking habits, schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist at one of our Pathway Eye convenient locations. You may need special glasses designed for computer use or other treatments for conditions like dry eye disease, or you may have an undiagnosed vision problem  

There’s no denying that screens are a big part of our lives these days—and show no signs of going away anytime soon—so it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers of too much screen time and to make your eye health and vision a priority by scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams.