Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain is caused by a number of factors, including staring at close-up objects for extended periods of time and exposure to blue light that is emitted by digital devices.  Another cause is insufficient blinking.  People typically blink 12 times a minute, but when they stare at a screen, they tend to blink only five times a minute, which means their eyes are not being lubricated properly.

Children

Symptoms of digital eye strain include headaches, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, eye irritation, double vision, excessive tearing or dry eyes and excessive blinking or squinting.  Children may also exhibit symptoms such as irritability, poor behavior and a reduced attention span.

Research conducted by the Alberta Association of Optometrists indicates 28% of parents say their child experiences symptoms during or after using digital devices.  However, digital eye strain may be difficult for parents to detect because children may not show obvious signs of discomfort.

Your doctor of optometry can recommend a customized solution, based on your child’s digital habits, to help prevent the adverse effects of digital eye strain.  They may recommend computer glasses, which can help reduce eye fatigue.  A blue-light filter can be applied to prescription or non-prescription lenses to minimize the amount of blue light that reaches the eye.

Adults

According to a survey conducted by the Alberta Association of Optometrists, Albertans spend an average of 10.5 hours using digital devices every day: three hours on work computers/laptops, two-and-a-half hours watching television, two hours on cell/smartphones, two hours on home computers/laptops and one hour on tablet devices.

 

More than 70% of Albertans reported experiencing symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision and sensitivity to light as a result of using a digital device.  Other symptoms of digital eye strain include eye irritation, double vision, excessive tearing or dry eyes and excessive blinking or squinting.

 

Based on your digital device habits, a doctor of optometry can recommend a customized solution to help prevent the adverse effects of digital eye strain. They may recommend computer glasses, which can help reduce eye fatigue. A blue-light filter can be applied to prescription or non-prescription lenses to minimize the amount of blue light that reaches the eye.

 

Preventative Measures

There are every-day preventative measures that can be taken to help reduce the risks of digital eye strain:

  • Just walk away.Take a break for a few minutes and give your eyes a rest.Focus on something in the distance.
  • Eliminate screen glare by reducing overhead lighting.
  • Position the computer slightly below eye level and at arm’s length.
  • Increase text size on digital devices.
  • Adjust screen brightness.