Ways to Prevent Digital Strain

The age of the smart­phone has brought a dig­i­tal screen to even more Amer­i­cans than just those indi­vid­u­als who sit in front of a com­put­er screen. With so many more indi­vid­u­als spend­ing hours star­ing at a dig­i­tal screen day in and day out, has brought a lot of atten­tion to the neg­a­tive health effects. One of the biggest, and per­haps the most obvi­ous, issues of the dig­i­tal age is the effect on the eyes. While there may some­times be no avoid­ing star­ing at a screen, there are some very effec­tive ways to reduce and pre­vent dig­i­tal eye strain or some­times referred to as com­put­er vision syn­drome.

Dig­i­tal eye strain can be caused from look­ing close­ly at a dig­i­tal screen for more than two hours and can cause headaches, blurred vision, tired­ness, and neck and shoul­der pain. Many of these symp­toms are caused from exces­sive dry eyes because when an indi­vid­ual is view­ing a dig­i­tal screen, the blink rate decreas­es which results in less lubri­cat­ed eyes. Here are some easy tips to help pre­vent dig­i­tal eye strain.

Take Fre­quent Breaks

Inter­rupt­ing long peri­ods of screen work by fre­quent breaks can be a great way to pre­vent exces­sive strain on the eyes. Every 20–30 min­utes, indi­vid­u­als should look away from the screen and focus on an object across the room for 20–30 sec­onds. This will allow the eyes to adjust and relax the focus­ing mus­cles that are heav­i­ly used.

Keep the Dis­tance

Sit­ting too close to the com­put­er screen caus­es the eyes to focus even hard­er. A good rule to fol­low is to posi­tion the com­put­er screen an arms length away and hand­held screens should be at least 18 inch­es from the eyes.

Blink More Often

Since exces­sive dry eyes can cause a lot of the symp­toms relat­ed to dig­i­tal eye strain, it can be very ben­e­fi­cial to blink more often. While this may be dif­fi­cult to be con­scious of through­out the work­day, doing so can form a habit that leads to long-term ben­e­fits for the eyes.

Bet­ter Light­ing

Office set­tings are often too bright and eye strain can be caused by exces­sive­ly bright light. By mak­ing sure to avoid direct flu­o­res­cent light­ing in a work­space and mak­ing sure that win­dows are to the side of the screens, not in front or behind can great­ly reduce the strain on the eyes.

Eye Exams

Get­ting fre­quent eye exams can be one of the most impor­tant aspects to pre­vent­ing eye issues caused by dig­i­tal screens. Talk­ing with an eye care provider about the num­ber of hours spent in front of a screen and at what dis­tance can help test and deter­mine if any issues are devel­op­ing.

These sim­ple tips can help reduce unnec­es­sary strain on the eyes that is caused by dig­i­tal screens. While many indi­vid­u­als can­not help the num­ber of hours need­ed to be spent in front of a screen, some can sim­ply be more con­scious of the time and cut back when it allows. How­ev­er, the very best pre­ven­tion is lim­i­ta­tion.

November 18th, 2015|Comments Off on Ways to Prevent Digital Strain

About the Author:

Born in Connecticut and raised in Upstate New York , Dr. Stetson graduated Cum Laude from Colgate University in New York, and then earned an MD degree with honors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He distinguished himself again in residency at the Albany Medical Center, where he obtained the highest percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Examinations. Dr. Stetson has performed more than 50,000 refractive surgeries and has been on staff at Diamond Vision since 2004, before becoming Medical Director in 2006.
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