Professional Independent Optometry

Digital eye strain

image of digital devices

We are now spending almost half our waking hours using digital devices for everyday tasks such as work, socializing and shopping. Research has shown that up to 65% of users are experiencing some form of discomfort.*

What is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital Eye Strain is the term used to describe physical discomfort to the eyes after prolonged work on a digital device. This usually occurs after two or more hours of activity. While the symptoms can vary from person to person, they can be quite mild or severe. Typically people experience one or more of the following symptoms.

  • Tired eyes or fatigue
  • Dry, red, burning or itchy eyes
  • Headaches, and pain around the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

  • What happens when we use a digital device?

    When we look at near objects the eyes need to convergence together and focus to maintain clear vision. With prolonged near work the muscles in the eye can fatigue leading to discomfort. Our blink rate also naturally reduces when we concentrate on near tasks and this can lead to symptoms such as dry, gritty red eyes. We are increasingly using smaller devices with brighter screens which put extra strain on the visual system. These devices are often hand held, and this tends to change our posture putting strain on our neck and back.

    Digital devices emit blue light which is known to disrupt our nature sleep patterns and can cause eye strain.

    How to help your eyes

    In some cases glasses are required to help alleviate the symptoms. These innovative lenses, help relax your eyes and reduce eye strain. Special coatings such as the Essilor Prevencia coating, filtering out blue light, reduce glare and help prevent fatigue. As part of our 360 comprehensive eye examination your Eyes On Optometrist will assess your visual needs and determine the appropriate solution for you. Other ways to reduce eye strain include:

  • Remember to blink more frequently
  • Remember the 20/20 Rule: Every 20 minutes look away from your screen for 20 seconds
  • Don't have the screen too close and be conscious of your posture
  • When required, wear glasses designed for digital devices

  • posture of how to avoid digital eye strain

    The Digital Media Nation, McCrindle Research, Aug 2013
    Eyes Overexposed: The Digital Device Dilemma, 2016 Digital Eye Strain Report, The Vision Council, USA