The effects of prolonged screen time on your eyes and what you can do about it

In this digital age, smart phones, tablets, e-book readers, and computers are never far from us. During the pandemic, children’s screen time increased with distance learning, and video conferencing became normal for people of all ages and vocations. 

This increased screen time raised concerns about its effects on our overall health and especially on our eyes. With this becoming the new normal, understanding its effects on our eyes has never been more important. 

Digital Eye Strain

Digital Eye Strain (DES), also known as Computer Vision Syndrome, refers to a group of vision and ocular symptoms that are linked to staring at electronic screens such as laptops, computers, televisions, tablets, smart phones, e-book readers, etc. In other words, DES is damage to your eyes caused by too much screen time.

Damage to eyes

The effects of DES generally do not linger for long and have not been proven to cause permanent damage. However, without proper management, symptoms, such as dry eyes, can lead to more serious issues over time. 

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Symptoms of digital eye strain vary from person to person, and can vary day to day in the same sufferer. The symptoms can even extend beyond the eyes. 

The following is a list of the most common symptoms of Digital Eye Strain:

  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes 
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Light sensitivity
  • Headache
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Reducing the impact

For many of us, avoiding digital screens is not an option. Thankfully, with only a few minor changes in behavior, and the proper eyewear, you can protect yourself from the effects of digital eye strain. 

Computer glasses  

Computer eye glasses have anti-reflective (AR) lenses that help to reduce eye strain caused by the glare of digital screens. AR glasses can be used while using any type of digital screen and are incredibly effective for anyone who spends long periods of time in front of a computer.

The protective coating on these anti-reflective glasses virtually eliminates reflections from the surfaces of the lenses. By reducing the amount of light being reflected off the lenses, the light is able to pass through more efficiently, allowing you to see clearly with less strain on your eyes. 

At NeoVision we offer comprehensive optical services as well as an extensive selection of eyewear. Our experienced opticians can personally assist you in finding the best AR glasses for your needs.

Decrease your exposure

Few people can eschew screens entirely, but reducing the amount of time spent in front of them might be possible. Taking a break from the computer to play games on a tablet doesn’t really count.  

People who must use a computer all day may find that there are a few tasks that they can do offline. Spacing these out throughout the day will give strained eyes the rest they need. 

Follow the 20-20-20 rule

If you spend prolonged periods of time using electronic devices, give your eyes a chance to rest and refocus with this simple trick. The 20-20-20 rule works like this: After every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, take at least a 20-second break to look at something at least 20 feet away.

Adjust your screen

Setting up your computer in a way that promotes eye health and decreases strain on your eyes is incredibly simple. You will want to start by setting up your screen to sit at least one arm-length away from your eyes at all times. You will then want to raise or lower the screen so that it is positioned directly at your eye level.

Adjusting the brightness settings on your computer display, as well as any handheld e-books, tablets, and smartphones will also help reduce the strain on the eyes. Similarly, increasing the font size on your digital devices can not not only make things easier to read, it can also reduce any unnecessary eye strain. 

Contact the specialists at NeoVision if you are experiencing unusual eye discomfort 

To ensure the longevity of your eye health and vision, it is important to tell your eye care provider if you are experiencing any new or unusual symptoms. When you schedule a comprehensive eye exam with our specialists at NeoVision Eye Center you are guaranteed the highest quality, personalized care.
Take the first step towards your best eye and vision health today by contacting us online, or by giving our Union City office a call at 1-510-431-5511.