Is staring at your computer affecting your eyes?

Your computer may be causing eyestrain

In this day in age, most people work on a computer. Even if it is minimal. Others, may spend 8 – 15 hours looking at a computer screen. As there is an increase in screen time, there have also been theories about how screens affect our eyes. Many studies have found computers are not as harmful to our eyes as once believed. That doesn’t mean you are not experiencing some discomfort due to your screen time.

Eyestrain. What is eyestrain? Symptoms include:

  1. Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
  2. Watery or dry eyes
  3. Blurred or double vision
  4. Headache
  5. Sore neck, shoulders or back
  6. Increased sensitivity to light
  7. Difficulty concentrating
  8. Feeling that you cannot keep your eyes open

It is important to know when you are experiencing eyestrain so you can treat it properly. Eyestrain is typically caused by using digital devices. The American Optometric Association calls this computer vision syndrome, or digital eyestrain. Risk for eyestrain increases in individuals who look at screens more than two hours every day are at higher risk for complications.

Furthermore, complications are caused by a decrease in blinking, looking at screens too closely, not adjusting for glare, not adjusting the screens contrast. Other factors that can contribute are central air, poor work station set-up, and posture.

Tips to decrease eyestrain

Studies have shown 50 – 90% of the workforce suffers from eyestrain. To prevent eyestrain, visit our website to schedule your annual exam. This will allow us to ensure a proper prescription decreasing eyestrain. In addition, it will allow us to discuss computer usage and recommendations.

Set up a successful work station. This includes proper lighting, decrease the contrast in harsh lighting or bright outdoor sun glaring through windows. Keep blinds or shades closed. Decrease fluorescent lighting. Position your computer screen with the windows to the side instead of behind or in front. Minimize the glare on your screen. This can be done by upgrading your display to LED or purchasing an ant-reflective (AR) coating on your glasses. Adjusting your settings (brightness, text settings, and color temperature). The brightness of your screen should match the brightness of the room. Text should be easily and comfortably read. Avoid colors that cause more eyestrain such as orange and red. By reducing your color temperature you will increase the long wavelength hues. These hues, unlike the blue light, decrease eyestrain.

Exercise your eyes. A bad habit of most individuals working on computers is they forget to blink. So blink more! Look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. We call this the 20-20-20 rule.

Take a break. We recommend a 5-10 minute break after 50-60 minutes is better than a 20 minute break every 3 hours.

When you should call us for an appointment to address your eyestrain

Typically eyestrain does not cause long term damage, but it can be uncomfortable. Please visit our website to schedule an appointment if you try our recommendations and do not feel relief.