Keys to Visual Comfort in a Digital World

Young woman taking off glasses tired of computer work, exhausted student or employee suffering from eye strain tension or computer blurry vision problem after long laptop use, eyes fatigue concept

By Dr. Rica McRoy, and
Dr. Alana Coker
R City Eye Care

Do you remember hearing or even giving the warning, “Don’t sit too close to the TV! You will ruin your eyes?” A story published in Life’s Little Mysteries traces the origin of this concern back to the 1950’s when some television sets emitted radiation levels that exceeded federal safety limits by 100,000 times, increasing the risk of serious eye issues. Yikes! Thankfully, modern TVs and digital devices come with proper radiation shields.

Today, the average American interacts with a digital screen about 7 hours a day. As we learn more about the impact of digital screens on our vision, we find a grain of truth in that once familiar warning. Exposure to digital devices, particularly at close distance, is fueling a rapidly growing condition known as digital eye strain.

Have you experienced digital eye strain? If you interact with digital screens including computers, tablets, or phones and experience headaches, eye discomfort, tired eyes, blurry vision, red, and/or dry eyes, digital eye strain could be the cause.

Here are helpful tips to engage digital devices that lessen eye strain:

• Follow the 20/20/20 Rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break from looking at your screen and view something that is at least 20 feet away from you.

• Take blink breaks. When we look at screens, our blink rate slows to less than half of its normal rate. Every 5-10 minutes, make a conscious effort to blink your eyes. This will help moisten your eyes and reduce dryness.

• Adjust your screen and room lighting to reduce glare. Do you sit near a window or under a bright fluorescent light? If so, these light sources may be causing harsh glare on your screen, making it harder for your eyes to focus.

• Back away. The further the device is from your eyes, the better. When you have a choice, use a bigger screen that is further away, such as a computer rather than a phone.

• Consider blue blocking glasses. These should be high quality lenses that are over the counter or prescribed after consulting with your eye care specialist.

If you have not had a comprehensive eye examination in the past two years, it’s time to call your eye doctor. Sometimes, more serious eye issues can mimic digital eye strain. If you don’t have a relationship with an eye care provider, it would be our privilege to be part of your care.

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