Nowadays, we’re always on some digital device for hours on end. From a computer at work to a smartphone after work to “catch up” on personal emails or check out a video.

For those working remotely, our screen size can be reduced to laptops with smaller screens. No surprise, more people experience some form of digital eye strain.

Digital Eye Strain can cause:

  • Eye strain
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches, usually around the forehead
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

What can you do to help deal with this?

1. Blink!

Humans normally blink about 15 times per minute. It helps to spread the tears across the surface of the eye. However, studies show that when using computers and other digital screen devices, it can drop to 5 to 7 times a minute!

If your eyes dry out, you can have blurry vision, and then your eyes try to focus and stay open longer – a vicious cycle!

2. Use Artificial tears

Use artificial tears to lubricate your eyes when they feel dry. You can ask your eye doctor about which ones to use. If you are often in a dry room, consider using a humidifier.

Don’t confuse lubricating eye drops with the drops that “get the red out.” The latter can make your eyes look whiter — they reduce the size of blood vessels. However, they are not necessarily formulated to reduce dryness.

3. Follow the “20-20-20” Rule

Looking up close uses your focusing muscle more than looking far away. Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: at least every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds, look at an object at least 20 feet away

4. Adjust Brightness and Contrast/ Reduce Glare

Adjust your screen brightness to match the level of light around you. Also, try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain. Overhead lighting can cause glare. A matte screen filter may help cut some glare.

5. Adjust Your Position at the Computer

When using a computer, you should be sitting about 20-28 inches (about arm’s length) from the screen. Also, most people find it more comfortable to look slightly downwards. Optimally, the center of the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 to 5 inches).

6. Use Computer Eyeglasses

These prescription glasses allow you to focus your eyes specifically at the computer screen (usually about 20-26 inches away from your face). Some of these glasses have multifocal lenses to help you quickly shift your focus between close, intermediate and far distances. Be aware that this is not the same as “blue blocking” glasses, which can help as well. We use Zeiss Blue Protect anti-reflective coating to protect from high-intensity blue-violet wavelengths.

If you have uncorrected vision problems, eye strain can occur as well. Also, headaches that are new and painful, wake you up, or are associated with loss of balance indicate an examination to look deeper into the cause.