Digital Eye Strain Archives - GUNNAR Computer Eyewear

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Time for a Digital Detox?

A few weeks ago, we introduced the concept of health is the new wealth. Well, for many in the health and wellness industry, the idea has been around for a long time but never really in the realm of protecting eyes. Over the past year, however, and through our efforts to help educate with the assistance of professionals in all kinds of related fields, things are changing very quickly.

Your daily goals being achieved, being able to go the distance in all that you do, and then getting a meaningful night’s sleep are incredibly important. Most Americans take steps each day to boost their energy and health whether it’s through exercise, an extra cup of coffee, going for a reinvigorating walk outside, or, believe it or not, by giving their eyes a break. The latest concept beginning to build up steam is for people to give themselves a digital detox. It’s not a bad idea. But for many, it’s also either not an option or a desired alternative to staying connected.

protect eyes from computer screen

Based on cited studies from Pew Research Center, Nielsen, and Oxford University, there is an ever-growing number of people all around the world who are affected by the artificial blue light emanating from their digital devices. Since statistics show more than 83% of Americans report using a digital device for more than two hours a day, 60.5% of those people in turn report experiencing digital eye strain. This was all revealed this year at CES in Las Vegas by our friends at The Vision Council. On top of that, the American Medical Association recently issued a warning to all cities in the U.S. to stop using LED lighting because of how intense the blue light can be and disruptive it is for circadian rhythms. From this, Harvard then studied the issue further showing overly-lit conditions (extensive artificial lighting) can increase the risk for cancer.

With so many new studies coming out about just how bad not protecting your eyes can be, it’s no wonder those in the health and wellness communities are now also jumping on board and encouraging everyone to take more precautions. Why wouldn’t you? It’s simple: when you’re unable to disconnect and walk away from a digital screen, and for all the times you have to keep staring at one, protecting your eyes is the best solution to avoiding harmful, high-intensity blue light. As we shared before, apps and devices that manipulate screen colors in order to lessen blue light are all well and good, but not nearly enough. And in max settings, everything being orange is definitely not ideal. So why bother struggling and avoiding the simplest, most convenient way in which you can get more protection than anything else?

glasses to protect eyes from computer screen

Of course, we’re tooting our own horn here a bit, but with good reason. No one else compares to our tech, and since our lens design is patented, you know you’re getting top-quality. As well, with our new BPF (blue-light protection factor) rating, you can clearly gauge the difference in our lens options as well as in comparison to our competitors. For more information about BPF and why a healthy start to your day begins with your eyes, click here.

If you’re sick of the tired, itchy, burned-out feelings in your eyes and want to return to getting a good, deep, solid night’s rest, head to and join the Movement that’s sweeping across the planet.

Health is the New Wealth

2018 is upon us and so begins a fresh start for countless people. It’s the season of New Year’s Resolutions when millions of individuals will promise themselves to eat more nutritious foods, increase their vitamin intake, hit the gym on a regular basis, and all sorts of other efforts in order to achieve a healthier and happier version of themselves. However, for most, one integral part of their body is neglected: the eyes.

eye health

Everyone’s day begins when the eyes open and ends when they close, so it makes perfect sense to protect them in between. And given the incredible amount of new information being released about the need to protect the eyes, now is the time for a digital eyewear movement like no one has ever seen before (pun intended). Just take a look at WebMD; they recently posted an article that shows wearing amber-tinted glasses is recommended to improve sleep quality. The study is based on a newly published article in the Journal of Psychiatric Research which proved “soundness of sleep” was “significantly higher” when subjects wore amber lenses before going to bed. So, you see, health really is the new wealth!

It’s no mystery that efforts by many to live a healthier life have increased. In fact, since 2013, the health and wellness industry has grown by nearly 11%, and earns around $4 trillion a year with nearly $550 billion going to mind and body fitness. From expensive, healthy customized diets to specialized personal training, millions of people are shelling out thousands of dollars each year to better themselves. Yet, the same eyes they use to spot these deals in order to improve their health is the one part of their body that’s ignored the most. Whether indoors or out, many people just don’t feel the need to put on a pair of glasses or sunglasses in order to avoid damaging waves of light. Outdoors, it’s ultraviolet light which has been proven time and again to damage corneal tissue. Indoors, it’s the dreaded artificial blue light that’s really the beast of eye damage.

protect eyes

If you’re just catching up on what’s been getting a lot of attention lately, blue light is the only wavelength that penetrates deep into the eye and can adversely affect the retina. With sunlight, the natural part of our biological clocks kicks in. Blue light triggers an enzyme in the eye which sends a message to the brain to turn off melatonin (the natural chemical that makes us sleepy) and we wake up. As the sun goes down, the results are reversed and we get tired. Since it’s the 21st Century, though, we’re now inundated by electronic devices at nearly every turn. Cell phones, laptops, tablets, dashboards, even some refrigerator doors! Digital screens are everywhere and they all emit a whole lot more blue light than the sun. Specifically, the peak of blue light from 400 to 450 nanometers is the most damaging. Beyond 450, we get a wavelength of blue light that’s actually healthy, helps your mood improve, and increases focus.

Now, if you’re one of the 83+% of Americans who use a digital device for more than two hours a day and part of the millions who experience eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and even neck and shoulder pain, then say hello to digital eye strain because that’s what you have. And if you think these numbers are alarming, don’t hold your breath for a reprieve because our world is only getting more wired as you read this. Not only are our eyes exposed to harmful blue light at nearly every turn which can cause macular degeneration, cataracts, and permanent damage to the retina, that same blue light is also causing us to lose quality sleep. So, in a world concerned about health, wellness, and improving livelihood, why are so many disregarding their eyes while dumping thousands of dollars on everything else? It makes no sense.

eye health tips

What we weren’t expecting as we headed into 2017 was for a new era of urgency to be ushered in. We had professional athletic directors and teams reach out, health gurus, exercise experts, and many more come knocking on our door looking for a way to improve their sleep quality while protecting their eyes throughout their digitally-soaked day. Even fashion-conscious celebrities and organizations wanted to work with us because digital eye strain is a very real issue for all people from all walks of life. 2017 turned into a GUNNAR Movement which we’re now riding into 2018. Not only are we working hard on developing new styles and technology to go with them, we have some really ambitious partnerships to announce very soon. This has all led us to wonder how we can make it easier for you to decipher exactly what you’re getting when you invest in GUNNAR products and your health.

good eyesight
healthy eyes

Today, we’d like to announce a new lens protection rating system we’re calling BPF: blue protection factor. BPF is a scientifically applied protection rating designed to help people compare the efficiency of the blue light protection from their screens which they receive from their glasses. Starting now and similar to SPF (sun protection factor), all of our products and comparisons will come with a BPF rating so you can clearly see what level of protection you’re getting. The GUNNAR patented amber lens carries a BPF of 65 in comparison to most other competitors that have a BPF of 18. Wearing a lens with a BPF value of 65 means that the lens blocks a minimum of 65% of incoming blue light from 380nm to 450nm, and 100% of UV light. Since the most damaging and intense blue light is nearer to 450 nanometers, you know GUNNAR protection will be vastly superior.

Protecting your eyes is our #1 goal. Ever since GUNNAR was established over 10 years ago, we’ve remained close to optometry professions to ensure our products are of the highest quality on the market. Whether you’re a hardcore gamer, engineer, accountant, student, or just on a computer a lot, GUNNAR provides the highest protection available – protection that helps you see better, play longer, and improve your health. On top of that and with the introduction of the BPF rating system, we’re able to go one step further in making sure you know you’re getting nothing but the best with GUNNAR Optiks.

If you’re new to GUNNAR and into gaming, check out the Razer FPS; if you’re looking for something to wear during the daily grind, take a peek at the Publish Mod.

Do Apps That Block Blue Light Improve Sleep Quality?

With studies coming in left and right, it’s becoming more and more obvious that exposure to artificial light—especially from digital devices—is negatively affecting a growing number of people. Recently, NPR dove into the arena and reported on whether or not applications for phones, tablets, and computers were helping block blue light and improve sleep quality. Spoiler alert: they’re not.

blue light sleep effects

While both experts NPR interviewed said there is value in using the apps—which we agree, there is some value—you’re still not getting enough protection. On top of that, with a light-shifting program, you’re causing the colors of your screens to be manipulated and they end up looking like they’ve spent too much time in a spray-tan booth. Whether you’re into art, gaming, photography, or just surfing the web for fun videos or products, the last thing you want is for everything to look unnatural. Especially memes. Besides, even in an orangey state, screen brightness still contains blue light.

blocking blue light makes you sleep better

In steps David McLeod, an Optical Business Manager for an eyecare company in Georgia. In his interview with FOX/ABC, McLeod warns that overexposure can lead to macular degeneration and retina damage. Just when you thought not getting enough sleep was bad, in steps this guy to say you’re going to go blind! Dramatics aside, he is definitely correct. While it may take a while for that kind of damage to occur (though increasingly so thanks to so many things being wired and digital these days), they are issues which can be prevented starting today. As Professor Brian Zoltowski pointed out in the NPR article, we’re surrounded by artificial light—there’s no escaping it. Taking steps to decrease exposure is all well and good, but not everyone can escape the light. So that leaves you with two choices: A) Change your life such that you can get away from artificial sources of light well before bed or; B) Put on a pair of glasses—as recommended by David McLeod—that will protect your eyes all day and night.

how to get more sleep

If you’re tired of feeling the strain, not getting enough sleep, and if you’re worried about the health of your eyes, it’s time to get a pair of GUNNAR. No need for an app—get the protection that will help restore the sleep you’ve been wanting. Check out our latest styles, Axial and Valve.

Doctor Recommended for a Reason

GUNNAR glasses have long been doctor-recommended for one important reason: they protect your eyes. So, it’s no surprise to us when well-respected medical professionals like Dr. Ryan Corte, O.D. agree. In his recent article, Dr. Corte lived up to his promise of being passionate about educating his patients and explained our technology in great detail from his perspective as an optometrist. He’s not just someone who bases his beliefs on data and science, he’s also a GUNNAR user thanks in part to the need he had in protecting his eyes after having LASIK surgery some time ago.

dry eye treatment

It’s a little shocking at this point in time, however, that there are still quite a few people who aren’t familiar with digital eye strain. As a matter of fact, in a study done earlier this year by Novartis and Johns Hopkins University, 64% of the 6,000 surveyed weren’t informed about the medical condition. This same study also revealed a very interesting fact: 81% of surveyed university students had clinical signs of dry eye (one of the symptoms of digital eye strain) but only 41% reported the condition. Chances are, most just think the effects of digital eye strain are related to something else, and not a direct result of increased and repeated exposure to artificial blue light.

computer eye strain symptoms

This is where Dr. Corte’s article comes in and at a very important time in human history. The Digital Age is very much upon us, and the number of people exposed to digital devices for much of the day is increasing at an extremely high rate. The need to protect your eyes has never been more important, especially now that a growing number of studies are coming out and reaffirming what optometrists like Dr. Corte have long known and feared: digital eye strain is a very real and very serious condition that needs to be addressed on a daily basis. From losing quality sleep to the early onset of macular degeneration and on to many other long-term conditions and eye damage, leaving your eyes to fend for themselves when bathed in artificial light that they’re not meant to be exposed to will only yield greater medical issues, pain, and loss of cognitive function.

Give Dr. Corte’s post a read when you have a few moments. If you’re ready to get on board and protect your eyes, the styles he enjoys using are Sheadog, Mod, and Intercept which are all in stock today.

Ladies, Prioritizing Your Eye Health Will Help Your Workplace Productivity!

The health and wellness gurus at Well+Good just posted an interesting article which discusses the need for women to pay better attention to their eye health, and we couldn’t agree more. Noting the 20-20-20 rule for keeping eyes fresh and rested throughout the day, W+G also shed some light on a recent release which stated women are more likely to suffer from chronic dry eye, inflammation, and vision impairment when compared to men. As you already know, these are just a few of the many symptoms of digital eye strain which is exactly what GUNNAR eyewear prevents.

So, if your “#bosslady goals” are to keep excelling and getting the job done well, follow Well+Good’s advice and then take it one step further by protecting your eyes with GUNNAR. You will immediately feel the difference and, therefore, be able to spend more time on increasing your workplace productivity.

Ramp up your ability to tackle the daily grind with a pair of Vertex – available now in Onyx and Smoke.

Your Digital Screens Could Be Destroying Your Life

Let’s face it, you’re surrounded by digital screens. What was once fantasized in sci-fi films is now a reality. From laptops to tablets to cell phones, our world has gone from analogue to digital in a matter of a handful of years. And while the convenience of having so much available at your fingertips has helped society excel in many areas, it has also caused an alarming amount of people to suffer from digital eye strain. Digital eye strain is a real-life medical condition immediately associated with exposure to artificial blue light, and according to a recent study 90% of the U.S. population is at risk of suffering from it. Symptoms include eye fatigue/tired eyes, eye strain, headaches, irritated eyes, itching/burning eyes, blurry vision, and general fatigue. As well, long-term exposure to blue light has been linked to cataracts, depression, macular degeneration, and other diseases.

To help simplify things a bit, here’s a commercial we recently did that quickly explains the condition:

Bear in mind, we’re not making any of this stuff up – digital eye strain is very real. While we coined the phrase “digital eye strain” nearly 10 years ago and the medical establishment has since accepted it as official terminology, they have done their own research which has yielded some extremely eye-opening facts about artificial blue light, how it can hurt your eyes, lead to diseases, and negatively affect your sleep. Examples of their independent studies can be read here, here, here, here, and here.

Now, the official explanation of what digital eye strain is comes from our friends at the American Optometric Association:

Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use. Symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Digital Eye Strain are eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain.

Viewing a computer or digital screen often makes the eyes work harder. As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer and digital screen device viewing make many individuals susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms. Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain symptoms. (RE:

reduce eye strain

Something else to note that is at the very root of digital eye strain is the high frequency of artificial blue light bombarding your eyes. It is a lot more intense than the level you receive from the sun, and it’s also the only color wavelength that penetrates your cornea and directly hits your retina. Bad blue light ranges from 380 to 470 nanometers, but there is also good blue light which ranges from 470 to 500 nanometers. The reason it’s good is because at these frequencies, it triggers enzymes and chemicals in your brain that help promote memory and cognitive function. They also stimulate the photosensitive retinal ganglion cells that, in turn, stimulate pupillary reflexes and control the circadian cycle. This is getting pretty science-y so if you’re truly curious, you can read what the experts at All About Vision have to say about blue light in their independent analysis here. There’s also a website dedicated to explaining how blue light can be bad for you which you can find here.

eye strain pain

What shouldn’t be flippantly disregarded, though, are the issues you could potentially suffer when exposed to blue light. These include melatonin levels being diminished leading to a disrupted sleep pattern (circadian rhythm), retinal damage, macular degeneration, cataracts, depression, and eye disease. Some studies have even shown that blue light can trigger chemical reactions in the brain that can lead to diabetes, weight gain, and even cancer. Given that the gateway for living life begins with your eyes, protecting them has never been more important.

As a result of the advancement of our technologically-inclined society and the saturation of digital devices in our lives, more and more people are feeling the negative effects. The Vision Council, the leading organization for championing better vision for better lives, does an annual study on digital eye strain and this year’s numbers are frightening. According to their research more than 83% of Americans use a digital device for more than two hours a day, and of those individuals, over 60% experience symptoms of digital eye strain.

In an effort to help combat the growing number of issues many digital device users experience, there has been a major push to incorporate digital solutions into technology – specifically, applications or settings which help diminish the level of artificial blue light being emitted. Some of these apps are free to use/install, while other advancements are programmed right into device settings and expensive monitors. The end result, however, is a screen that’s distinctively orangish in hue, as if it had one too many spray-tan sessions.

how to relieve eye strain

Granted, these advancements in tech are a great step forward in helping to combat the growing problems associated with digital eye strain and blue light, but they’re simply not enough. Digital eye strain, as was quoted above, is “a group of eye and vision-related problems”, not just a result of artificial blue light. First, your eyes are a muscle and work their hardest when looking close up at a digital device all day. It’s like running a marathon and then trying to walk home afterwards. Your leg muscles would be too fatigued to carry you let alone stop from shaking. This same principle applies to your eye muscles as well. Second, the harder you gaze at a screen, the less likely you are to blink which, in turn, dries out your eyes. It’s a medical fact that blink-rates drop significantly during intense viewing which increases irritation. Third, glare from digital screens and the fact that they flicker as you try to concentrate on tiny letters or details cause your eyes to quickly become fatigued and irritated which can even lead to headaches.

Where applications and settings let you down is in these areas. Tuning out the blue light being emitted might help a little, but it won’t stop all of the other symptoms associated with digital eye strain. These apps and expensive color-shifting monitors still shower your eyes with high levels of artificial light. Masking the color focus or shifting the light spectrum does not change the fact that devices with a screen are illuminated by spikes of artificial light including blue light. Although these solutions may shift the amount of HEV blue light produced naturally by the devices, they do not reduce it enough. Besides, if you’re looking at a color-rich image or game, you can’t honestly say you’d prefer to see it bathed in orange, right? This now leads to another problem: few people actually take full advantage of a blue-blocking app or setting. Most likely, this is due to the significant manipulation of colors in how they’re seen on screen, and so blue light is still getting through and directly hitting the retina.

what does eye strain feel like

When you weigh all of your options, and despite some of these applications and settings being free, you’re missing out on so much more and still hurting yourself in the long run. Realistically, these solutions only address one of the causes of digital eye strain. The big difference is that GUNNAR addresses all causes of digital eye strain. GUNNAR amber lenses block the most HEV blue light at 65% providing you with a natural viewing situation and the most protection, they add contrast to help sharpen text and images on your screens, added focusing power pre-focuses the light and reduces stress on the eyes muscles caused from close distance viewing, and our patented lens designs help hold in humidity while blocking air currents to prevent dry eyes. So, you can keep using these apps and settings if you so choose, but for full protection, you’ll want to put on a pair of GUNNAR glasses.

Get on the GUNNAR bandwagon and never again worry about having to suffer from digital eye strain. We’ll take care of your eyes so you can be a better you all day, every day.

The Mission: Protecting Your Eyes

When it comes to summarizing why GUNNAR Optiks exists, leave it to the brainy and eloquent literary geniuses at The Mission to hit a home run. In their latest article, they feature a treasure-trove of really meaningful information about digital eye strain and how GUNNAR can help prevent the symptoms. The Mission’s easy-to-read story weaves readers through the facts, information about blue light, what is digital eye strain, and then it closes out with some very helpful solutions. Why so serious? Because it is very important to protect your eyes as they are an integral part of the body that regulate sleep patterns, hormone production, and the body’s timeclock. And, bonus, there’s a very savvy video near the end that covers it all. You can read the article here, and we’d love it if you would help spread the word.

eye protection tips

Our mission with the help of The Mission is to protect your eyes. No time like the present to join the Movement of believers who want to end the pain of digital eye strain.

Steps You Can Take to Combat Computer Vision Syndrome

We’ve long been touting the necessity of protecting your eyes because it’s why our company exists in the first place. Well, now the prestigious and well-respected Reader’s Digest has joined the fight. They recently jumped on board and shared some ways in which you can keep your eye balls safe. As Reader’s Digest noted, “When you stare at computers (or devices like smartphones and tablets) for too long, the muscles in your eyes have to work overtime. And ‘like any muscle, if you’re constantly using it, it can break down,’” says James Stringham, PhD, research professor at the University of Georgia. Given the amount of time we’re all spending staring at a digital device, it makes sense that one of the biggest publications of all time would want to help spread the recommendation.

computer vision syndrome symptoms

Steps you can take include eating leafy greens, corn, and orange peppers, practicing the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes, look at something 20+ feet away for 20 seconds), taking supplements if leafy greens aren’t your thing, limiting your exposure to artificial blue light, and, surprisingly enough, wearing reading and blue-blocking glasses. Wouldn’t you know it, we have those!

If you’re looking for blue-blocking readers, you can find GUNNAR styles here. Otherwise, check out our latest style designed by Publish: the new Infinite.

Revolutionary Eyewear for All

Sheila Gaspers from recently picked up a pair of the GUNNAR Haus to help combat the digital eye strain she was feeling on a daily basis. And after a few weeks of testing, she found that she not only felt much better, but she also turned a few heads at the office thanks to the Haus’ “haute” styling. Her review, which was recently posted, isn’t too long but it’s certainly positive, and we genuinely appreciate her taking the time to highlight our eyewear on their website.

We receive quite a few reviews throughout the year, but what makes this one especially unique and important is that it appeals to a mostly female audience. GUNNAR Optiks wasn’t founded to just benefit gamers and males, but to help all computer users protect their eyes from computer vision syndrome. We feel features like this are worth highlighting because we’re passionate about everyone understanding the benefits of our computer glasses. Thank you, Sheila and Tango Diva!

Haus comes in three colors, Onyx, Onyx Fade, and Tortoise, in both amber and crystalline, and they’re all currently in stock.

Are your computers destroying your body?

By Frank Gimbel, ABOC-AC

Screens are just about everywhere we look today. Whether they are in the form of flat-screen TVs, PCs, laptops, cell phones, media players, smart watches, or some other technology, all of these devices can emit harmful blue light that can create digital eyestrain. With all this technology surrounding us, questions are stirred about the harm they can cause to the eye and overall health in general.

The dawn of the personal computer age has opened the door to what is known as CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome), or commonly known as digital eyestrain. This condition plagues all ages, spans all occupations, and can harm anyone who uses a computer or display device for prolonged periods of time. Let’s face it, our eyes were not designed to focus upon a specific finite distance for countless hours without experiencing fatigue, eyestrain, dry eyes, and blurred vision. Other disturbing factors can be noted with neck and back pain, double vision, vertigo, and polyopia (the struggle of refocusing the eyes). Additional aggravators can include poor lighting, improper ventilation, and screen glare. With extended computer use and other display devices, we are forcing our eyes to stay fixed on a specific distance for a prolonged period of time. Theoretically, this is highly unnatural for our eyes, and CVS affects about 90% of the people who invest three or more hours per day on a computer according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

1e_webWe are now living in a wired world, dependent on digital devices, and susceptible to CVS more than ever. This widespread condition affects 70% of Americans and is growing daily. While CVS is most prevalent due to the action of eye movements and focusing, a New York Times study of pre-university students acknowledged that a large number of affected users do not have proper ergonomic computer set-ups in their work environment. The position of the user—seating, lighting, distances, screen size, foot placement, wrist and hand movements—all play a critical role in how one should set up a workstation in order to maximize comfort, efficiency, and ward off Computer Vision Syndrome.

When it comes to the conversation about digital devices, the discussion inevitably turns to blue light. There are two different types of blue light to consider. The first type is the healthy kind that helps to regulate our circadian sleep rhythm. It boosts alertness, heightens reaction times, elevates moods, and increases the feeling of well-being. This is the healthy type, and it’s what we all need to help lead a balanced and healthy life.

1dBlue light is a natural trigger and our bodies respond to its presence by suppressing melatonin production in the brain. In fact, all light tends to suppress melatonin production, but blue light “does so more powerfully” according to a May, 2012, Harvard Health Publications report. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that influences our circadian rhythms: our body’s natural 24-hour cycle controlling the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that we experience on a daily basis. These circadian rhythms tell us when to be awake and alert, and when to rest. We’re just beginning to understand the powerful effects that inappropriate or untimely lighting may have on our well-being, but already the facts are starting to pile up and high-energy (blue) light is the subject of much of this focus.


1cSleep disruption is a significant issue for millions of Americans, both adults and children. More than 40 million suffer chronic sleep disorders, and 20 million more report occasional problems sleeping according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Poor sleep habits promote irritability, and can significantly affect all areas of our physical health including reduced work performance, mood disorders, high blood pressure, risk of stroke, and diabetes. Studies show that exposure to blue light a couple of hours before bedtime can delay deep REM sleep significantly. The prevalence of blue light in our sleeping environments has many physicians worried.

The second type is harmful, and has been suggested to be a leading cause of macular degeneration and other hazardous ocular disorders. In terms of the visible light spectrum (ROY-G-BIV), blue light occurs between 380 nm to 500 nm. A nanometer (nm) is measured as one billionth of a meter (0.000 000 001 m), and is commonly used to measure a wavelength of light. What we are talking about when we discuss blue light is particularly High Energy Visible (HEV) light, the violet/blue band of the color spectrum which exists everywhere around us, whether we are indoors or outside. Blue light is actually everywhere. When outside, light from the sun travels through the atmosphere. Inside, blue light can be found in fluorescent lights, LED bulbs, and through the emission of electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers.

Prior to 2010, the conversation about blue light was most often connected to outdoor exposure and discussions about UV protection. This was the case until April 2010 when the release of the first iPad spawned what was to become “The Tablet Revolution”. Before long, these new-age devices were mass-produced by many competitors in the market, and more tablets flooded shelves in stores and were openly embraced. Tablets soon became the go-to media platform replacing many magazines, newspapers, and paperback books. While these new high-tech devices reduced paper waste, they quickly outsold traditional computers, and created new types of visual problems to combat. When using standard computers on desks and tables, the screen is positioned at a safe mid-distance range. Tablets, on the other hand, are held at 12-to-24 inches from the eyes, and their portable nature increases average hourly usage. Interconnectivity with smartphones and apps became prevalent, and now over 35% of Americans own at least one tablet.

The downside to using tablets, smartphones, and other devices is the backlit display. Displays typically work through LED (light emitting diode) technology, and vary between white LED and RGB backlit designs. The white version is most often used inside mobile LCD (liquid crystal display), desktop, and notebook screens. White LEDs are normally made from a blue LED with a wide spectrum of yellow phosphor to create the emission of white light. The second type of backlit display most often found is made from an RGB LED design where red, green, and blue LEDs are controlled to produce different color temperatures of white light. Concern about blue light exposure relates to its placement on the color spectrum. Compared to longer wavelength colors within the spectrum, blue light and HEV wavelengths are shorter and glimmer easiest on backlit displays. This flicker effect causes glare, and can lower visual contrast inherently decreasing clarity and sharpness on backlit devices.

1aThe naked eye alone does not have enough protection to filter out the harmful types of blue light. Extended exposure to it can lead to retina damage and loss of vision, and it can contribute to age related macular degeneration. With 93% of teens owning or having access to a computer, it has become imperative to begin educating them about the risks of blue light, the different types, and why it’s important to protect their eyes now while using these devices.

Typical viewing distances for digital devices vary. Desktop computer screens are usually set for an approximate 22-inch focal length from the eye. This standard focal distance of about 22 inches was common with most computer use, and generally speaking, worked well for many PC users. Then, as technology changed, this standard became about 18 inches with the adaptation of more laptops. Now, with even more tablet use, we find focal lengths to have moved even closer since these devices are positioned 12-to-24 inches away. Smaller gadgets such as smart phones are even closer when used for text messaging, for example, placing even more strain on our eyes causing headaches and visual fatigue. As the day winds down, device users tend to move their backlit devices closer for visual comfort. The reason behind this is that the focusing system of their eyes begins to “lock up”, and they then move objects closer to keep the muscles of the eyes in focus. By doing so, the end result is that they only induce more stress on the eye creating greater strain and discomfort. All of this exposure to technology creates an immediate need for products that help defend our eyes from digital devices and enhance proper vision.

According to The Vision Council DigitEYEzED Report, approximately 70% of American adults experience some form of digital eyestrain due to lengthy use of electronic devices. The most common report for computer usage per day varied from 6 to 9 hours, and the number of adults now spending more than 10 hours per day rose another 4%. When it comes to computer or tablet use, the eye is simply not designed to focus on pixels and hard targets. The most likely time adults experience digital eyestrain is between 6:00pm and 9:00pm, and 63% of adults did not know that their electronics emitted high-energy visible or blue light. This was one of many staggering headlines to discover, and the figures are only expected to grow with more digital dependency and use.

Ways to prevent digital eyestrain can be tied to proper ergonomics. When it comes to using a computer, it is ideal to have overhead lighting but not brighter than the monitor. This should be the brightest light in the room, and the top of the monitor should be at eye level or just below. Proper viewing distance is key and should vary between 20 and 40 inches—one arm length from the screen. Keyboards should be placed in an area where the wrist is comfortable, and the upper arms should hang vertically with the torso. Supportive chairs that allow the user to firmly position their feet flat on the floor are needed as well. Lastly are eyeglasses that block high-energy visible blue light.

Extended computer viewing has many drawbacks to note. One is reduced blink rate. Studies have shown that a computer user’s blink rate over an extended period of time can reduce to as much as one-half to two-thirds of the normal rate at which one would blink if not working on a computer. This translates to drier and more tired eyes.

1f_webTo help combat this and enhance vision, GUNNAR Optiks offers a wide array of specialized blue light prevention gear to help protect your eyes from this entire screen-based technology. The lenses trick the eyes to think they are focusing far away, allowing the eyes to relax and feel like they are focusing at distance. Available in over-the-counter and prescription options, their lenses are designed to reduce eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, and even dry eye syndrome. One key point to note is that all over-the-counter GUNNAR lenses have a slight focusing power in their design. The power is a +0.20D add that aids with close visual needs providing extra clarity and promoting less strain.

GUNNAR’s computer glasses use proprietary wrapped lens and frame shapes to help prevent dry eye syndrome, and keep the eyes lubricated and refreshed. Their frame designs limit air currents from drying the eye, keep in healthy humidity, and allow for more visual comfort. GUNNAR views the number one alleviated symptom of computer vision syndrome is dry eye syndrome. This leads to a greater reduction of corneal abrasions, corneal scaring, and encourages protective tear film layers to remain replenished while working away at the screen.

Let’s not forget about another booming segment to consider: gamers. According to, more than 155 million Americans routinely play video games. Over 42% play for at least three hours per week, and at least 4-out-of-5 American homes contain some type of gaming console used to play video games. These numbers are staggering, and prove to highlight the popularity of what Americans like to do for hobbies and leisure time. Thinking in terms of lenses, all gamers can benefit from some type of blue light protective and screen-enhancing eyewear. For a more in-depth rationale on the topic, gaming is much more than just a hobby—it’s a culture. Even considering statistics from 2014, U.S. gaming consumers spent $22.41 billion on games alone. The average player is 35 years old, and the generic stereotype ends there. Gaming reaches all ages: 56% are male (and yes, the remaining 44% are female), 26% of players are under 18 years of age, and 27% of video gamers are over the age of 50.

Over time, much like the TV and cable industries, games have become digital. They are purchased frequently online rather than in a physical store, and are played on more computer devices than ever before. Committed players acknowledge that they spend at least 6 and a half hours per week playing online games with others over the internet, and another 5 hours per week playing with other players in person. Of these frequent players, 15% spend even more time playing with their partner or spouse at home. As eyecare professionals, we have a lot to consider about our patients who enjoy spending this much time intently watching screens.

1g_webIn addition, this digital shift appears to only be increasing, and console games and systems are quickly being left behind for more PC and tablet based gaming options. In 2010, the digital video game market only took a 29% share of the total gaming market. Four years later, digital sales almost doubled accounting for 52%, while physically purchased games were finally trumped and only made up 48% of the video game market.

The muscles of the eye function like the shutter and zoom of a camera. They bend and flex to allow for the items viewed to be seen as clearly as possible. Think of the muscles as if they were rubber bands. Throughout long periods of uninterrupted near-distance flexion of these eye muscles, the eye can lose elasticity and experience blurred vision, difficulty focusing, double vision, and eyestrain. GUNNAR has devoted itself to working on this extensively. Its lens design pre-focuses the light coming off of a screen to encourage the muscles of the eye to relax. In addition, the lenses enhance colors and allow details to appear sharper while looking at the screen. When setting out to find a lens material that was as tough as polycarbonate yet provides the optical clarity of glass, GUNNAR could not find one to meet its needs and created its own proprietary material. The end result is a plano mid-index of 1.51, with a low-density, high-ABBE value, and high-light transmission lens that provides minimal haze and delivers ultra-sharp optics. The lens appears to be crystal clear, and GUNNAR prides itself on its high degree of color control. Its goal is to create lenses that are enhanced to work with engineered tints and band-pass filters properly, all without any edge defects. GUNNAR claims its lens materials offer an optically-pure viewing experience with ultra-light, ergonomic properties for all screen users.

These lens ingredients make GUNNAR an ideal candidate for dedicated computer users, tablet aficionados, smartphone fanatics, and gaming enthusiasts. The lens purposely blocks out 65% of artificial HEV blue light. This percentage mimics the equivalent amount of natural blue light needed to help aid in overall health for the body and brain. The nanometer band focuses the coverage across the 400-to-450nm spectrum values which is also the most damaging to the eye. While GUNNAR primarily focuses its lens specialty on computer use, its wide range of tint enhancements allows for tailor made usage environments matched to recommended lens tints. Traditionally, the lens tint is the amber hue designed precisely for the type of light emitted from a computer screen. This tint allows the wearer to see in optimized optics, and feel the sensation of viewing the image in an eye-preferred natural light environment. The amber lens tint filters more fluorescent light and reduces high-intensity blue light, also filtering out 65% of HEV blue light at the 450nm light spectrum. While this lens tint can be worn by all, GUNNAR also produces its crystalline lens tint which is designed for graphic artists, photographers, video editors, and those who need to see in true color. This tint provides all the same benefits as the amber lenses, except it will not filter, contrast, or shift the color spectrum while worn, and it will filter out 15% of blue light at the 450nm light spectrum. The third option from GUNNAR is the non-polarized outdoor tint. It has been designed to provide a relaxed and dramatic visual experience for those who enjoy using their digital devices outdoors.

1bScreens emit glare and reflections, and any high quality optical device must have a cutting edge anti-reflective coating to reduce glare, and allow for more light to transmit through the lens to reach the eye. GUNNAR lens coatings all uphold high levels of scratch resistance while maintaining hydrophobic and oleophobic properties to reduce grease, moisture, and haze from their lenses. Prescription options are also available. Each single vision lens, regardless of power, comes with all of the coating and tint options specified above. In prescription form, GUNNAR’s material of choice is polycarbonate. However, upon special request, a 1.67 high index can also be obtained. All prescription lenses have the option to be ordered with either a crystalline or amber tinted lenses, and come with a blue flash anti-reflective coating on both sides.

Exhaustion: Then and Now

There’s an interesting and storied history of people being exhausted. We all know we have had our own days, but in a very interesting (albeit long) read, The Week has published an article that takes a look back at how society has diagnosed and approached the subject.

It’s interesting to see how different generations handled exhaustion. Regardless of how crazy some of those periods were, it’s clear feeling burned out isn’t a new thing. Now, however, we’re firmly into a new digital era where exhaustion has moved away from just being emotional or physical, to now affecting the many millions of us who spend the majority of our days staring at a screen. Digital eye strain is no joke, it’s very real (yo!), and as more and more people are afflicted, it’s our goal to continue to help spread the news. The bottom line: GUNNAR can help!

For more information about digital eye strain, click here. Now’s a good time to get protected, too! Check out our two latest styles, Enigma and Havok.

Digital Eyestrain on the Rise

A growing number of optometrists and other medical experts have begun to get very serious about digital eyestrain. Helping give the subject recent headway in the eye care spectrum was a new study released by Vision Service Plan (VSP being the moniker most are familiar with). In it, research shows that by the time an average American teenager hits 17 years of age, he or she has spent 1/3 of his or her life staring at a digital device. That’s almost 6 years, according to VSP, or more dramatically put, 50,000 hours. And because of this amount, eye care specialists are witnessing a growing number of patients suffering from digital eyestrain.

This same study also shows that parents of teenagers are still mostly unaware of the adverse effects of artificial blue light—the biggest reason symptoms of digital eyestrain are on the rise. All of these startling figures lead to a 50% increase in exposure for Americans in general, and a 38% increase in the negative effects of blue light in kids.

Click the image above to see the full infographic from VSP.

Though public awareness is slowly on the rise, there are still issues that need to be addressed. Namely, most folks are confused or completely in the dark (pun mostly unintended) about how bad artificial blue light is for their eyes. Simply put: it’s the only wavelength of the color spectrum that penetrates directly through the eye onto the retina and can lead to a myriad of medical ailments. The other issue is the large number of individuals who suffer from digital eyestrain and don’t even know it. They rub their eyes and feel tired staring at their screens, but they just attribute it to general fatigue or a bad night’s sleep. We see a remarkable number of people who eventually find themselves in a pair of GUNNARS and realize just how bad it’s been for so long.

The bottom line? There needs to be a greater effort made in spreading the news. This goes for GUNNAR Optiks as well, hence this and previously posted blogs. The more people understand artificial blue light and digital eyestrain, the greater the chances these rising figures VSP has shared will begin to decline. Don’t forget, GUNNAR Optiks was founded nearly 10 years ago with eye protection as our main goal for existence. Even well before the medical establishment started recognizing the issues, we were right there knowing something was wrong, and that we wanted to help. Learn more about our technology and how we’re in this fight against digital eyestrain by clicking here.

#CES2016: New Digital Eye Strain Report

The International Consumer Electronics Show is the largest technology exposition in the world. All of the latest and greatest advancements in the digital world are revealed at the event which takes place in Las Vegas. Despite there being some thrilling new inventions and breakthroughs this year, one subject took center stage: digital eye strain. During CES this week, The Vision Council released their 2016 Digital Eye Strain Report which was quickly picked up and reported on by numerous media outlets. From their survey of 10,000 adults, The Vision Council found that 70% of Americans suffer from some form of digital eye strain, while nine out of 10 of those people use electronic devices for two or more hours a day. They also reported that 27% of Americans do not know computer eyewear can protect against digital eye strain.

In an interview with CBS News, one technology sales expert who spends a lot of time in front of his laptop confessed that he experienced many symptoms of digital eye strain. These symptoms include headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, dry eyes, and more. It wasn’t until he purchased prescription glasses designed to help alleviate the negative effects of blue light and digital eye strain that he was finally able to experience relief.

Yes, there are prescription options out there to help you avoid digital eye strain, but they don’t include GUNNAR Optiks’ patented lens technology. With our eyewear, you not only find relief from digital eye strain, but you’re also protected against the negative effects of blue light while the shape of our glasses help keep your eyes from drying out. The bottom line: we’re here to help protect your eyes so you can better focus on what needs to get done whether you wear prescription glasses or not.

Here are just a few of the many media articles that were posted this week based on The Vision Council’s 2016 report released at CES:
Chicago Tribune
CBS News

Digital Eye Strain Debate Heats Up

The amount of research into the negative effects of high energy visible light (HEV) and blue light on our eyes has significantly increased in recent months. While vision experts agree that the sun emits blue light just like every electronic device with a screen, there is still much debate as to whether or not exposure from any specific source can be blamed more than others for causing digital eye strain. recently asked the question, “Are screens ruining our eyes?” In their article, it’s reported that the number of hours most humans spend in front of an electronic device averages between 7.4 to 9 hours a day. And every single device is a source of artificial blue light. Even more concerning, according to Stuff, is the average number of adults who experience computer vision syndrome: 63%!

While medical experts continue to investigate HEV, blue light, and digital eye strain and their connection to macular degeneration, it’s important to remember the basics. Your eyes are a muscle and extremely intricate in design. Whether you’re working with heavy equipment, swimming, going for a hike, or on your computer pouring over your taxes, you need to keep those eyes protected. Knowing that blue light emitted by any source will affect your circadian rhythm and can be damaging to your retina, there’s never been a more important time than now to protect your eyes.

Digital Device Use on the Rise

A recent publication by The Vision Council has found that the number of digital device users has increased from 45% of American adults in 2012, to nearly 70% in 2015. The appeal of having nearly everything at your fingertips has helped advance the digital age at an almost alarming rate. We say almost because for the most part, folks who use digital devices are either getting work done, being entertained, or any other benign reason you can think of. Adversely, it is potentially alarming because this means more folks are potentially experiencing digital eye strain.
digital device use chartSymptoms of DES can include eye fatigue, blurriness, red or irritated eyes, dry eye, and even neck pain as well as headaches. This is where GUNNAR Optiks can truly help. With our patented design and lens filters, we’re able to help relieve you of DES symptoms, and help you perform longer and better no matter what you’re doing. Reading, preparing a presentation, doing homework, or just kicking back and playing game, GUNNAR is the only brand on the market that’s doctor recommended, and we stand behind the quality of our products. You’re welcome to learn about all the details of what our eyewear can do for you here.

Do ‘environmentally friendly’ LED lights cause BLINDNESS?

Spanish research has shown that blue LED light can irreparably damage the cells in the eye’s retina. This is not the first time energy-saving bulbs have been criticized – fluorescent bulbs emit dangerous UV light. Eco-friendly LED lights may damage your eyes, according to new research.A study has discovered that exposure to LED lights can cause irreparable harm to the retina of the human eye. LED lights have been touted as a super-efficient alternative to traditional bulbs because they use up to 85 percent less energy and each bulb can last up to 10 years.

In April, Philips, the world’s biggest lighting maker, reported a 38 per cent jump in LED light sales from last year.

A Spanish study has shown that the light emitted by LED bulbs can damage the cells in the retina. Some experts are now calling for a filter to be fitted in the bulbs (file picture)

They are already widely used in mobile phones, televisions, computer screens and can also be fitted as a replacement for traditional lighting in the home. LEDs are much more expensive than traditional bulbs – costing around £25 for an equivalent 100w compared to around £1 for an incandescent bulb – although manufacturers claim that consumers make their money back because of the use such little energy.

The government announced it was phasing out incandescent bulbs in 2007 after an EU directive banned their use. The 100w bulb was the first to go in 2009 and lower wattage bulbs continue to be phased out gradually. The ban caused public outrage as customers were forced to spend large sums of money on lighting that not only gave an unpleasantly ‘cold’ light but also caused some people to report symptoms of itchy skin and headaches.

The government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme, which was brought in to help cut UK carbon emissions, is also pushing the use of LED lighting by offering businesses added tax relief if they use LED and other low-energy bulbs. Dr. Celia Sánchez-Ramos, of Complutense University in Madrid and who led the study, explained that light from LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, comes from the short-wave, high-energy blue and violet end of the visible light spectrum.

Incandescent bulbs (left) are being phased out in favour of low-energy alternatives such as CFLs (right), but there are concerns about the safety of the new generation of so-called ‘environmentally friendly’ lighting. She said that prolonged, continuous exposure to this light may be enough to damage a person’s retina. The retina is composed of light-sensitive tissue that is responsible for detecting light and in turn allowing us to see.

‘This problem is going to get worse, because humans are living longer  and children are using electronic devices from a young age, particularly for schoolwork,’ Sánchez-Ramos told

Enterprising: Lighting shop owner Kerry Nicholau, from Twickenham, stockpiled 3000 incandescent bulbs after 75 watt bulbs were phased out in 2011

‘Eyes are not designed to look directly at light — they are designed to see with light,’ Sánchez-Ramos said.

Her comments are partly based on her 2012 study that was published in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology. The study found that LED radiation caused significant damage to human retinal pigment epithelial cells in vitro. Sánchez-Ramos added that modern humans have their eyes open for roughly 6,000 hours a year, and are exposed to artificial light for the majority of that time. Some experts have called for the LED lights to have built-in filters to cut out the blue glare.

This is not the first time energy-saving lights have come under scrutiny for safety reasons. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, have been criticized for the high levels of mercury they contain as well as the UV radiation they can emit. LED lights have also been blamed for the changing hues of masterpieces in art galleries.

A study carried out by the University of Antwerp earlier this year found that LED lights were bleaching the paint on works by Van Gogh and Cézanne.


Digital eye strain can lead to dry and irritated eyes, fatigue, blurry vision and headaches.

One day after Sarah Hinkley had been working on her computer for about five hours, she noticed her eyes started to burn and feel dry. “My focus became blurry like I was looking through a haze,” she says.

As an optometrist, Hinkley knew exactly what was wrong. She was suffering from digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

It’s becoming a widespread problem as more people spend hours each day looking at computers, cellphones, iPads, tablets and other electronic devices, says Hinkley, a spokeswoman for the American Optometric Association and an associate professor at the Ferris State University Michigan College of Optometry. “It is rampant, especially as we move toward smaller devices and the prominence of devices increase in our everyday lives.”

In fact, almost 70% of U.S. adults say they have experienced some of the symptoms of digital eye strain, according to a survey conducted for the Vision Council, a trade group for vision care products and services. About 60% of respondents say they spend at least six hours looking at screens daily.

The problem is starting to occur more frequently in kids, Hinkley says. “As children acquire cellphones at younger ages and are using them more frequently during the day, we are seeing the symptoms presenting in younger children more than we have before.”

The symptoms may include dry, red and irritated eyes, fatigue, eye strain, blurry vision, problems focusing, headaches, neck and shoulder pain and possibly even words moving on the screen because of underlying eye alignment issues, which are binocular vision (how the eyes work together) problems, she says. The latter is not as common as dry eyes, eye strain and blurry vision.

STORY: Judi Dench shines spotlight on macular degeneration

STORY: High-tech tools help people with low vision stay active

There are some people who can use a computer for hours without any issues, but others who have an underlying dry eye issue may be bothered by symptoms after 10 minutes on the computer, she says. The syndrome causes discomfort but doesn’t typically cause vision loss or any permanent damage, Hinkley says.

Brooklyn optometrist Justin Bazan, a consultant to the Vision Council, says some research suggests the blue light (high-energy visible light) emitted by screens could lead to age-related macular degeneration. Studies of pig eyes show blue light damages the cells of the retina, he says.

He suggests using a pair of computer glasses that use specifically treated lens to block the potentially damaging blue light. “This is something I recommend and prescribe for my patients,” he says. These glasses are different from others prescribed for other daily activities. The standard anti-reflective coatings do not help prevent the blue light damage, he says.

James Sheedy, a professor at Pacific University College of Optometry, says that although blue light can damage the retina, the radiation from digital devices is much less than any daylight outdoor environment. Sunglass protection outdoors is much more important.

Hinkley says there is some research evidence that blue light may contribute to macular degeneration development, but further investigation is needed to explore any connection with screen use.

In the meantime, there are several approaches to treatment for digital eye strain, Hinkley says. The primary ones are to limit screen time and/or take frequent breaks. Some people use artificial tear solutions or other treatments for dryness, and others may need vision therapy including focusing therapy if they have underlying issues with their focusing or binocular vision systems. Some people need to train themselves to blink more often, she says.

Digital eye strain can be exacerbated in adults who wear prescription eyewear because sometimes bifocals and progressive lenses are not ergonomically suited for reading on the computer, she says. Anyone with symptoms of the problem should make sure their glasses are optimal for computer work, Hinkley says. They may need glasses with computer lenses or occupation lenses that work well when they are sitting at the computer.

She recommends indirect lighting on the monitor rather than a lamp pointing at the screen that may create glare. If your monitor faces a window, you should have it an angle to reduce glare.

Some businesses hire an optometrist to check the work-station ergonomics of their employees to make sure they are set up for visual efficiency and comfort, Hinkley says.

The Vision Council’s medical advisory board offers these tips to prevent or lessen digital eye strain:

  1. Take a 20-20-20 break: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  2. Adjust the brightness of your device. Consider changing your background color from bright white to cool gray.
  3. Adjust your screen so it is directly in front of your face and slightly below eye level. Do not tilt a computer monitor.
  4. Position yourself or your device, so there is sufficient distance between your eyes and the screen.
  5. Lessen the amount of overhead and surrounding light competing with your device’s screen.
  6. When using a computer, first sit in your chair and extend your arm. Your palm should rest comfortably on the monitor as if you’re high-fiving the screen.
  7. Keep hand-held devices a safe distance from your eyes and just below eye level.
  8. Increase text size to better define the content on your screen. Use the settings control to make adjustments that feel comfortable to your eyes.
  9. Remind yourself to blink more often. Staring at a digital screen can affect the number of times you blink, causing eyes to dry.
  10. Parents should limit the amount of screen time for children and reduce their screen time in front of children to set healthy standards in the home.
  11. Blink. Breathe. Break.

Time people say they spend daily on digital devices:

  1. 33%: 3-5 hours
  2. 32%: 6-9 hours
  3. 28%: 10 or more hours
  4. 5%: 2 hours or less
  5. 2%: do not use digital devices

Source: A survey by the Vision Council

What is Digital Eye Strain?

What is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain is the temporary discomfort that follows two or more hours of digital device use. A variety of electronic devices can cause digital eye strain, including televisions, desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, e-readers, tablets, and gaming systems, especially when they are used simultaneously or when switching repeatedly from one device to another.

What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?

  • Red, dry or irritated eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye fatigue
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Headaches

What Causes Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain is not caused by one isolated event or behavior. Irritation and discomfort can be the result of many issues. Digital devices often feature small print and pixelated images that can be difficult to read and cause our eyes to strain in order to focus. We may also be using the devices improperly by holding them at the wrong angle or too far from our eyes.  Blue light, also referred to as high-energy visible (HEV) light, is another cause of computer eye strain. It is emitted by digital devices and increases eye strain more so than other colors that have a longer wavelength. It may also contribute to vision problems such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.  Digital eye strain can also be exacerbated in adults who wear prescription eyewear. This is because the corrective lenses they wear are oftentimes not intended for viewing the mid-distance range of computers and electronics.

eye strain symptoms

Preventing Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain can be prevented by limiting digital media use, but for the vast majority of Americans who cannot – or will not – reduce their usage, there are multiple ways to lessen screen time’s impact on your eyes.

Start by paying attention to your body. Eye, neck, head or shoulder pains are warning signs that digital eye strain may be occurring. Before your eyes feel fatigued or irritated, and before the warning signs of digital eye strain appear, try the following remedies to prevent it from happening in the first place.

digital eye strain

Keep your distance. Position your device so there is sufficient distance between your eyes and the screen.

  • For computers, extend your arm while seated in front of the computer monitor. The correct distance to be seated from the screen occurs when you can comfortably place your palm flat on the monitor, as though you were high-fiving the screen.
  • For hand-held devices, hold the device just below eye level and at a distance that still enables you to comfortably read the screen.

Reduce glare. Adjust the brightness of your screen by checking the device’s control setting. Consider changing your background color from bright white to a cooler gray. Glare reduction filters are also available and easily attach to computer screens.

Clean your screen. A dust-free, smudge-free screen helps reduce glare.

Dim surrounding lights. Reduce the amount of light competing with your device’s screen. Dim inside lights, and when outdoors, try to avoid competing with direct sunlight while using your digital device. Doing so will help reduce glare and eye strain.

Adjust your screen. Regardless of what type of device you’re using, digital screens should always be directly in front of your face and slightly below eye level.

Increase text size. Try increasing text size to help better define screen content and to make reading more comfortable for your eyes.

Wear computer glasses. Computer glasses are an increasingly popular solution for reducing both computer eye strain and the potentially damaging effects that increased digital use can have on vision. They help the eye adjust to intermediate-distance objects, such as computer screens, are available in all shapes and sizes and can be made with or without a prescription. They look like regular glasses but the difference is in the lens. Depending on your visual needs, some computer glasses have a modified lens power that relaxes the eye while providing a large field of view, while other computer glasses feature an anti-reflective coating that helps combat eye strain by softening the glare from harsh indoor and outdoor lighting and improving contrast. Some computer glasses even feature lenses that selectively absorb harmful blue light, preventing it from entering the cornea and causing eye damage. Computer glasses can include all three of these features or only the feature or features that your eyes need.

Blink more often. Staring at a digital screen can reduce how often you blink, causing eyes to become dry. Remind yourself to blink more often, which also helps the eyes refocus.

Take a 20-20-20 break. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. Even short breaks make a huge difference.

Follow these links to learn more about digital eye strain, how it affects children and teens, and how computer glasses can help relieve eye strain.