Nowadays, more and more people are using digital devices for just about everything, whether it's for work, studies, or just keeping up with everyday life. If your eyes feel tired and dry after using your phone or computer, or if your head and neck ache all the time, your poorly managed screen time might be to blame.
As digital devices have become commonplace, more people are dealing with what has been called computer vision syndrome (CVS), which is synonymous with digital eye strain. It refers to a group of vision-related problems that people encounter due to the prolonged use of digital devices. Many people experience some eye discomfort when using their phones, tablets, or computers for long periods. Symptoms associated with CVS include red, dry eyes, eye fatigue, blurred vision, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain. The severity of visual system discomfort seems to increase with the amount of screen time.
You can pass a 20/20 eye test and still have CVS or other vision problems. Note that only a comprehensive computer vision syndrome exam can help your eye doctor make a diagnosis. The vision testing will focus on examining your visual function at the viewing and working distances for the digital device. The exam will also include tests to detect any eye problems that contribute to or could be mistaken for CVS.
There are many ways to keep your eyes from straining due to increased screen time, including:
Take regular eye breaks. When using the computer, you tend to blink less often, which can cause dry eye syndrome. Since blinking helps produce tears, make it a habit to blink more often when looking at your monitor. This way, you can moisten and refresh your eyes. Apply the 20-20-20 rule by staring at something 20 feet away for about 20 seconds every 20 minutes throughout the day.
Adjust the lighting. Bright light, as well as too much glare from your screen, can also strain your eyes. The triggers are often from sources behind or above you, such as fluorescent light. It’s best to turn off some or all of the overhead lights to reduce discomfort. Also, avoid placing your monitor directly in front of your window or white wall, close the blinds, and use an anti-glare to cover your computer screen.
Position your monitor correctly and check screen settings. Adjust your monitor about an arm’s length away directly in front of you at eye level or slightly below it. It would also help to use a chair that you can adjust. Lastly, adjust the contrast and brightness levels of your computer screen and enlarge the font size of your work.
Use artificial tears or eye drops. Over-the-counter lubricating drops can help prevent and relieve dry eye symptoms. It’s recommended to use them even when your eyes feel fine to keep them well-lubricated during screen time.
Choose proper eyewear. Consider investing in computer glasses, eyewear or contact lenses, designed especially for computer work. Ask your eye doctor about tints and lens coatings that might help too.
If you have any questions about your eyes, call Eyecare Center Optometrist, PSC, now. Our team of board-certified, highly trained eye specialists will be more than happy to help you get the best eye care possible. Schedule an appointment today in any of our clinics in Richmond, Lexington, Irvine, McKee, or Beattyville, Kentucky.