Are you spending more time than ever in front of various screens? Do you work in front of a computer all day, and spend a good deal of time on your phone or tablet? Do you find you’re experiencing more headaches, blurred vision, neck and should pain, dry eyes, and eye strain? You may be experiencing digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.  

According to the American Optometric Association, the average American worker spends seven hours a day on computers – either in an office setting or working at home.  Digital eye strain is a group of eye and vision problems, brought on from prolonged use of computers, tablets, and phones. The rapid evolution of technology and the accompanying changes in our lifestyle, including more people working from home offices and increased time spent looking at phone screens means more people than ever are experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.  

Causes and Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain 

Symptoms of digital eye strain include blurry vision, headaches, sore and tired eyes, neck, and shoulder pain. Digital eye strain symptoms can be worsened if you’re working with poor lighting, have bad posture or are seated at an improper distance from your computer screen, have uncorrected vision problems such as astigmatism, presbyopia, farsightedness, or if your eyes don’t work together properly.  

How to Relieve Digital Eye Strain  

If your job requires you to be in front of a computer most of the day, there are steps you can take to relieve symptoms of digital eye strain or even prevent developing it in the first place.  

Take regular breaks from your computer. Follow the 20/20/20 rule: every twenty minutes, look at something at least twenty feet away for at least twenty seconds. If possible, get up from your desk and walk around. This will help you prevent eye fatigue and neck and shoulder pain.  

Set up and maintain the proper distance between you and your computer screen at your desk. The proper distance between you and your computer screen is between twenty to twenty-eight inches and positioned about four to five inches below eye level.  

Remember to blink! We tend to blink less often when focusing on a screen but blinking less often can make you more susceptible to developing dye eye. Try to develop an awareness about blinking and consciously blink more often to keep your eyes hydrated.  

Visit your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. During your visit, be sure to mention that you spend a lot of time in front of a computer for work and have been experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain. Your eye doctor may recommend wearing eyeglasses that have blue light blockers in the lenses and are optimized for computer use, otherwise known as “computer glasses”. Your eye doctor can also diagnose any vision problems which may be worsening your digital eye strain, such as astigmatism, presbyopia, farsightedness, or problems with how your eyes work together.  

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain, visit the optometrists at Greene & Greene Optometry for a comprehensive eye exam. Call 617-924-3343 to schedule an appointment.