5 Tips To Avoid Digital Eye Strain

5 Tips To Avoid Digital Eye Strain

As screens are an increasingly common part of life, many people are developing digital eye strain. This condition is caused by looking at screens for extended periods and it can cause symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Eye fatigue
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Irritated eyes
  • Sore neck, shoulders, and upper back
  • Watery eyes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • And more

Most people who regularly use computers, for example for school or work, will likely experience digital eye strain. To help avoid the symptoms of digital eye strain, you need to take steps both before and during screen use to help keep your eyes comfortable.

How To Reduce Digital Eye Strain

  1. Use The 20-20-20 Rule
    It’s really easy to get absorbed in the task at hand and lose track of time, but your eyes need a break to reduce digital eye strain. To ensure your eyes get a moment to relax and to shift focus, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look up from your screen and focus on an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This momentary break gives your eyes a chance to rest and switch focus. This rule should be used by anyone who uses screens, including teens and children. If you have a hard time remembering to give your eyes a break, set a timer to remind yourself.
  2. Remember To Blink
    When we stare at screens, we blink less frequently, which leads to dry eyes, one of the symptoms of digital eye strain. We also tend to have fewer complete blinks. Try to remember to blink, and take time during your 20-20-20 break to blink several times to help stimulate eye lubrication. If you struggle to remember to blink or you notice dry eye symptoms while working on the computer, you can also use lubricating eye drops to ensure your eyes stay properly hydrated, although you should ask your optometrist before you attempt to use this as a long-term solution.
  3. Adjust Your Screen
    Your computer screen should be lower than your head so that your eye line is directed slightly downward. If your computer or other device is directly ahead of you or if you need to look slightly up at the screen, your eyes will be more open than usual, causing your tears to evaporate quickly. By having a lower screen, you help to keep your eyes adequately lubricated.
    You should also adjust your screen brightness as needed. Your screen should always be about the same light as the room around you. If your room is dim, lower your screen brightness, and if the room is well lit, increase the brightness. If your screen is either too bright or too dim, it can increase eye strain. Try to avoid sunlight directly on the screen, as this will make viewing much more difficult.
  4. Relax Your Muscles
    Digital eye strain doesn’t only affect your eyes. As your eyes strain, the muscles in the head that operate the eyes become fatigued and can cause headaches. Your neck, shoulders, and upper back can also become tight or tired. All of these symptoms are part of digital eye strain and can contribute to headaches and fatigue. Take time to pause your task, close your eyes, and relax your muscles. Take a few deep breaths and let your shoulders, neck, and forehead relax. If it helps, place your palms lightly over your eyes or give yourself a temple massage to help release tension.
  5. Use The Right Eyeglasses
    If you are focusing on a screen all day, it is important that you are wearing the correct eyeglasses so that you can properly focus on the screen without unnecessarily straining your eyes. Make sure that your prescription is up to date and that you are comfortably focusing out of the correct part of your lenses (especially if you have bifocal or multifocal eyeglasses). You may also want to consider getting coatings on your eyeglasses to help reduce digital eye strain. For example, you can get eyeglasses with an anti-glare coating as well as a blue light blocking coating. Both of these help to reduce digital eye strain.

An Optometrist Can Help Relieve Digital Eye Strain

If you use screens regularly, visit a Calgary optometrist from Specs in the City. Our optometrists can ensure that your eye comfort is prioritized and can offer solutions to reduce digital eye strain. If you do not need prescription eyeglasses, our opticians can help you find non-prescription blue light blocking and anti-glare eyeglasses to wear while you use screens. Whether you use screens for work, school, or entertainment, the staff at Specs in the City in SE Calgary can help you live and see comfortably. To schedule an appointment at Specs in the City, call 1-403-252-2020 or fill out the online contact form.


Q: Can digital eye strain cause permanent damage?
A: The long-term ramifications of the extended overuse of screens are yet to be understood. More than ever before we are working from home, completing school on online platforms, owning and using smartphones, and spending a large majority of time online for entertainment purposes. Due to these reasons, more and more people are experiencing issues linked to digital eye strain which can not only create the need for vision correction but can also be masking symptoms of more serious eye conditions.

Q: Do blue light blocking eyeglasses fix digital eye strain?
A: Blue light blocking eyeglasses and anti-glare lenses may reduce digital eye strain, but they are not enough on their own; you also need to follow the tips listed above. Learn more about blue light blocking eyeglasses by reading Are Blue Light Blocking Glasses Worth It?

Q: What should I do if digital eye strain is affecting my life?
A: If you are struggling with digital eye strain, visit an optometrist. You may need eye drops, a new prescription, or coatings on your eyeglasses that help protect your eyes. An optometrist will be able to determine how to best reduce your digital eye strain symptoms.

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