Digital Eye Strain
There is no escaping the fact that the digital age has changed the way we use our time, with Australians spending up to ten hours a day across multiple devices on internet connected devices. Interacting with these devices is a necessity for most of us but the down side is the stress on our visual systems and poor posture resulting in what is commonly known as digital eye strain. The blue light emitted by digital devices can also interfere with our eye comfort causing additional fatigue and in some instances sleeplessness.
What is Digital Eye Strain?
Digital eye strain is the discomfort we experience when working on a screen or multiple screens ; some level of discomfort is noticed by as many as 65% of individuals after a couple of hours and rises to 75% with use of multiple devices.
Symptoms vary but may include the following:
- Fatigue or eyestrain including poor concentration;
- Dry, itchy, burning or red eyes;
- Blurred vision;
- Neck and shoulder pain.
So What Causes Digital Eye Strain?
- Our eyes have never worked so hard! They are constantly changing focus, switching across multiple screens and devices which often involve increasingly smaller, pixelated characters on bright back lit screens. Our smartphones often require an ultra near working distance placing even greater demands on our eyes’ focusing system.
- In addition, the blue light emitted by our screens is harder for our eyes to focus on, causing discomfort or strain, as well as being linked to sleep disruption when used prior to going to bed.
- Our eyes’ normal blink rate is reduced when reading or working on digital devices making our eyes feel dry , burning and even blurring our vision as a result of reduced tear production.
- Prolonged periods of work in front of screens results in posture changes – leaning towards our screens or slouching – placing strain on our neck and back.
How Can We Help?
- There are exciting lens technologies which specifically address our vision needs for working on digital devices . With a wide range of focusing across the lens and amazing coatings which filter the blue and reflected light it is possible to enhance our comfort when working on digital devices for prolonged periods. These digital or anti fatigue lenses cater to both prescription and non- prescription wearers.
- Use the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes in front of a screen take a 20 second break and look at objects at least 20 feet (6 metres) away.
- Adjust the display settings on your devices.
- Remember to blink – or if needed use ocular lubricants regularly to improve comfort.