Find Relief in a Digital World
Canadians spend approximately 11 hours a day using a digital device. From computers to smartphones and tablets to TVs, these devices make our lives easier and more entertaining, but prolonged use can lead to a series of irritating symptoms called digital eye strain.
Fortunately, digital eye strain is temporary and doesn’t lead to any long-term visual complications, but it can certainly make working on a digital screen uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the symptoms associated with digital eye strain are similar to those of other, more serious eye conditions. To rule out the possibility of a larger problem, schedule an appointment with our team at Prairie Vision for a comprehensive eye exam.
Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain
Digital eye strain refers to the discomfort and vision problems experienced with extended digital screen use. These symptoms include:
- Blurred or double vision
- Sore, tired, or burning eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Sensitivity to light
- Dry eyes
- Back, shoulder, or neck pain
- Difficulty concentrating
What Causes Digital Eye Strain?
Despite the name, it’s not the devices themselves that cause eye strain. It’s more how we use our eyes and the stress we put on them when using a digital screen.
In fact, you can experience eye strain from driving, reading, writing, and other visually-intensive tasks, but eye strain is more common after extended periods of digital device use. Those who work on a computer or other digital device for more than 2 hours over several days are at a greater risk for digital eye strain. An uncorrected vision problem like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or an eye muscle imbalance can also make your eyes work harder and lead to digital eye strain.
Eye strain from computer use is more common because of how we use our eyes when during use. People tend to:
- Blink less when using computers, which can cause dry eyes and visual discomfort
- Use digital devices at less than ideal angles, which can lead to neck, back, and shoulder pain
- Use screens with glare, reflection, smudges, or dirt
- Use devices with poor contrast and brightness
How to Avoid Digital Eye Strain
Just like frequent breaks and stretching are important for your health if you sit for work all day, taking breaks and stretching your eye muscles are vital for your vision health. One way to remind yourself to give your eyes a break is to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Many jobs require extensive computer use, especially in this remote-work-oriented world. While computer use is unavoidable, digital eye strain is. Here are some techniques to try if you spend a lot of time on a computer:
- Use artificial tears to help keep your eyes hydrated and comfortable.
- Ensure the contrast and brightness of your computer screen match your environment.
- Reduce glare on your screen by positioning your computer away from windows or bright lights or use a screen filter.
- Consider using computer glasses or having your eyeglass prescription updated.
- Ensure your workspace, desk, and seat are set up ergonomically.
Children & Digital Eye Strain
From virtual schooling, computer screens, and smartphones, children are developing digital eye strain now more than ever. Since vision plays a crucial role in children’s development, protecting their eyes is essential for helping them grow and learn.
And with increased screen use, children can experience symptoms like:
- Eye fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Dry eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
How Parents Can Help
Children don’t usually set boundaries for themselves, so parents and guardians can help by monitoring their children’s device use and teaching moderation:
- Frequent breaks: It’s impossible to eliminate screen time altogether, but children will benefit from frequent computer breaks. Children can also use the 20-20-20 rule to remind them to rest their eyes.
- Sleep: Screen time before bed can disrupt a child’s natural circadian rhythm. It’s recommended children don’t sleep with their devices in their rooms, including TVs and computers.
- Exercise: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 6 and older get at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. Physical activity is good for children’s vision and overall health.
- Screen positioning: Just like you should make sure your workspace is properly set up, you should make sure your child’s is too. Some experts suggest using device screens based on the 1/2/10 rule: position mobile phones at 1 foot away, position desktop devices and laptops 2 feet away, and position TVs roughly 10 feet away.
- Lighting: Cut down on glare and reflection by adjusting lighting to match your child’s environment, position their screen away from bright sources of light, and adjust their screen brightness and contrast to match their room lighting.
- Regular eye checkups: Children’s eyes change and grow quickly. Vision problems can pop up unexpectedly and impact your child’s visual comfort. Regular eye exams can help ensure your child’s eyes are healthy and they’re not struggling with undiagnosed vision problems.
We serve clients of all ages from Wainwright, Viking, Vermilion, Provost, Lloydminster (Alberta), Macklin (Saskatchewan), and the surrounding areas.
- 2802 15th Ave, Unit 2
- Wainwright, AB T9W 0A4
After-Hours Emergencies: 780-842-0650
Hours of Operation
- Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
- Tuesday: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
- Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
- Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
- Friday: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
- Saturday: Closed
- Sunday: Closed
Closed for all statutory holidays