DIGITAL EYE STRAIN
Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eyestrain are terms used to describe vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet and/or mobile phone use.
In our modern world, we increasingly use information presented on digital screens rather than printed material. Digital screens are usually located at a near or intermediate distance and present similar tasks to reading. Adequate near focusing and eye alignment skills are required to maintain comfortable vision for all near tasks.
Causes of Digital Eyestrain
Conditions which can contribute include:
- uncorrected focussing and/or binocular vision problems
- poor lighting
- glare from light sources reflecting off the digital screen
- variable viewing distances and screen position
- poor posture
- reduced natural blinking
- a combination of these factors
Symptoms of Digital Eyestrain
The most common symptoms associated include:
- tired eyes
- blurred near vision
- distance blur after extended periods of computer use
- sore, red, irritated eyes
Treatment of Digital Eyestrain
The cause of vision discomfort can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination with one of our optometrists. The optometrist will test your focussing and eye alignment systems to ensure you can maintain clear, single, and comfortable vision for extended periods of time.
In some cases, individuals who do not require the use of glasses for other daily activities may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for computer use. In addition, persons already wearing glasses may find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer.
Specific lens designs, lens tints or coatings may help to maximize visual abilities and comfort.
Practical tips to assist in easing the discomfort in the short term include:
- Try to keep your computer monitor at arm’s length and the top near or below eye level. Looking down slightly to the screen allows the eyes to align more comfortably
- Ensure that the eyes are well focussed and aligned at the screen viewing distance and wear any spectacles recommended for the task
- Monitor lighting – you will be more comfortable if the room has good general illumination, the screen has appropriate brightness and contrast and is tilted to avoid reflected surface glare
- Have a break occasionally by getting up and leaving your desk. Moving about relieves any postural problems and looking at longer distances allows the eyes to relax focus.
- Don’t forget to blink regularly to avoid dry eye symptoms. Blink rate reduces when concentrating on specific tasks and many office environments have low humidity. Avoid having your face directly in air flow from air conditioning outlets, fans or heaters. Fresh humid air will also help with comfort.