Many people rely on digital devices for work or daily communication in a digitally connected world. According to the Digital 2022 Global Overview Report, more people have been using connected tech devices in 2022 than ever before, a trend that will only continue. The same report also revealed that people have been spending an average of 7 hours using the internet across various devices. Unfortunately, with this time spent using digital screens, many also experience and complain of digital eye strain.
What causes eye strain, and what can you do about it?
Why Do Screens Cause Digital Eye Strain?
The human eye typically blinks 15 to 20 times per minute. Blinking helps distribute liquid over your eyes to prevent them from getting dry and irritated. But when people use a digital screen, whether you are typing on a computer, watching TV or reading from a digital screen, their blink rate can slow down.
As a result of spending extended hours in front of a digital screen, you are more likely to suffer from eye strain. It’s a common phenomenon in this digital age, with more people spending time in front of a computer, smartphone screen, or TV.
How to Combat Digital Eye Strain
Do you need to stop using digital devices to combat digital eye strain? No, there are ways to treat or prevent eye strain by changing how you use these digital devices to avoid irritating or straining your eyes.
1. Improve Workspace Ergonomics
If you are working in front of the computer screen for 8 hours (or more) per day, to combat eye strain, make sure that you improve the ergonomics of your workstation. For example, your desktop monitor should be at arm's length and within eye level. You are less likely to strain your eyes and neck if the monitor is positioned directly in your line of sight. Ideally, keep the computer screen about 25 to 28 inches away from your face.
2. Minimize the Glare
You can minimize the glare by using a matte screen filter. The filter helps reduce the glare emitted by any screen, making it less straining on your eyes.
Another way to reduce glare is to adjust the light on your screen. Generally, you should avoid bright lights to prevent eye strain. Instead, minimize the brightness of your screen or adjust the brightness of the light around you to prevent glare when staring at the screen for a long time.
On the other hand, you must increase the brightness of your computer screen if you're working outdoors or in a bright environment. It also pays to clean your computer screen regularly, as smudges can only worsen the glare.
3. Take a Break and Blink Often
Taking frequent breaks can help reduce digital eye strain. First, you must follow the 20-20-20 rule. This rule states that you should take a break from the screen every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
In addition to this rule, you should take a break every two hours. Try to get at least a 15-minute break at a time. During this time, you should step away from your workstation and escape the computer screen. It's also an excellent opportunity to stretch out or walk around.
Even if you are not taking a break, make a conscious effort to blink regularly. Blinking distributes tears on the surface of your eyes to keep them from becoming dry.
4. Adjust Your Computer Settings
Aside from adjusting the brightness setting on your screen, you should also make a few adjustments to improve eye comfort.
You can make the text size larger. If the text size is too small, you are straining your eyes more to be able to read the text.
You can also adjust the contrast ratio on your screen. A high contrast ratio is less straining on the eyes and helps prevent eye strain.
Finally, increase the refresh rate of the screen. This setting reduces the flickering motion on the screen to gradually minimize eye strain, too.
5. Invest in a High-Quality Device
If you’ve had your computer or smartphone for a while, it’s time to consider updating to a new one. Older devices with outdated digital screen technology are prone to cause more eye strain due to poorer screen quality. On the other hand, modern digital devices include anti-reflective surfaces and high-definition screen quality to prevent eye strain.
6. Get Regular Eye Exams
If you’re experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain, make sure to consult an eye doctor immediately. They can check your eye to ensure that your vision is in top condition or to address any symptoms before it worsens.
An eye exam is a comprehensive evaluation of your eye health and vision and should be done yearly. These evaluations help to detect any refractive errors and also look at your overall ocular health. If you have any family history of eye diseases this is even more important as early detection is key! And if you struggle with digital eye strain, the eye exam is the first step to getting the correct treatment for any underlying visual disorders or ocular conditions that may be contributing to digital eye strain.
7. Invest in Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Wear eyeglasses that are equipped with blue light-blocking lenses. Digital devices are known to emit high levels of blue light. Prolonged exposure to blue light waves can cause eye strain. Therefore, you should invest in computer glasses with blue light blocking ability to prevent eye fatigue when using digital devices.
If your work or study depends on using digital devices, like computers and smartphones, it is essential to take measures to combat digital eye strain. Take note of the tips above to help prevent eye strain and ensure that you can maintain your eye health and vision.