Did you know that the average American spends seven hours per day on the computer? It is no wonder that 58 percent of adults surveyed by the American Eye-Q suffer from computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain. Digital eye strain is the physical discomfort felt after two or more hours within close or mid-range distance of a digital device such as a desktop or laptop computer, tablet, e-reader or cell phone.
Digital Eye Strain Symptoms include:
- Eye pain
- Eye fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Dry eye
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Sleep problems
Ways to Relieve Digital Eye Strain
Digital devices are here to stay, but you can be proactive about protecting your vision at work. Here are five ways to preserve your eyesight and prevent digital eye strain:
- Take at least three breaks per hour. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something at least 20 feet away. This is called the 20-20-20 rule. Taking regular breaks will help prevent eye fatigue, dry eye, and neck and shoulder stiffness. Instead of taking a break in your chair, try to walk around. Get a sip of water and stretch your legs to increase blood circulation.
- Blink often. Staring at digital screens decreases the rate at which you blink your eyes and can make you more susceptible to dry eye. Make a conscious effort to blink slowly and frequently to maintain moisture levels in your eyes.
- Maintain distance between your eyes and your screen. The preferred viewing distance between your eyes and a computer monitor is 20-28 inches, so adjust the default settings for font size if necessary. You may find that a few minor changes can make a big difference in your eye comfort.
- Check your screen angle. Your computer screen should be 15-20 degrees, or about 4-5 inches, below eye level as measured from the center of the screen.
- Decrease glare. You can purchase a glare filter for your computer screen, and there are many free apps that can filter blue light on your smartphones and tablets (source: AOA).
Schedule an Eye Exam
Ophthalmologists are seeing an increase in the number of patients who complain of digital eye strain, but 71 percent of Americans report they have never discussed their digital device usage with their eyecare provider (source: The Vision Council).
Take care of your vision and schedule a yearly eye exam with dilation. Your eye doctor can diagnose refractive errors, focusing problems and eye diseases and can make customized recommendations for digital eye strain. To locate a board-certified ophthalmologist, use our Find a Physician tool and make your appointment today.