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Do You Suffer From Digital Eye Strain? Find Out!

May 8, 2014

Everything you wanted to know about digital eye strain signs and symptoms!

Digital technology has become so prevalent in this day and age that it is actually more uncommon to know someone who doesn’t regularly use a computer, tablet or cell phone than to know someone that does. Kids are being introduced to digital, interactive screens sooner than ever before, using them to watch movies, play games and even learn in the classroom. And for adults, these different types of interactive screens seem to become more and more present in our lives every day, with Google even creating glasses and contacts that aim to bring the world of digital technology right in front of our eyes—literally!

However, as we spend more time around TV screens, computers and laptops, smartphones and tablets, we are beginning to learn more about the unfavorable effects that these types of technological devices can sometimes have on our bodies. For instance, many people who use these devices daily find that they regularly suffer from digital eye strain, also known medically as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).

Eye Strain

Anyone who spends time in front of a digital screen for extended periods of time is at risk for this vision problem. In fact, if you are someone who is hooked on technology and is never seen without a cell phone or laptop in your hand, you may know first-hand about the signs and symptoms of digital eye strain. This vision problem as become some common that is now the second most frequent computer-related repetitive strain injury! To help you learn if you may suffer from this common vision problem, read on!

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

If you often feel as though you are tired or your eyes are strained after you have been on the computer for too long or have binge-watched your favorite TV show, you may be experiencing a few of the common symptoms of digital eye strain. The most common side effects and symptoms include:

  • Eye redness or irritation
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Strained muscles
  • Dry eyes
  • General fatigue
  • Headaches

Causes of Computer Vision Syndrome

Digital Eye Strain/CVS is typically caused by the over-use of digital devices that have digital screens. When our eyes are constantly having to refocus on these digital images and reposition in order to process content like graphics, text and video, it can cause a significant strain on our eyes. Plus, because digital content is made up of thousands of little individual pixels, our eyes become stressed and strained when these pixel spaces are too far apart, and the image becomes distorted and complex for our eyes to process.

The symptoms that come along with digital eye strain are caused because of a number of reasons. For instance, dry eyes are typically caused by reduced blinking rates, while headaches often pop up after repeated eye strain. General eye fatigue can also come as a result of staring at screens and straining to see small fonts and images.

How To Prevent Digital Eye Strain

Surprisingly enough, with the amount of people who use digital devices each and every day, fewer than 1 in 5 adults have actually heard of this condition. Therefore, very few know how to prevent digital eye strain. To help you keep your eyes feeling healthy and comfortable when using digital devices, here are just a few prevention tips:

  • Practice the OCLI/20 rule: For every 20 minutes that you spend looking at a digital device, take a 20 second break to look at an object that is 20 feet away. This will help to give your eyes a much needed break.
  • Keep hydrated: If you are on the computer a lot and you find it hard to remember to blink enough, do your best to keep your body hydrated. Drinking lots of water will help to prevent dryness of the eyes.
  • Adjust your computer setup: Sometimes digital eye strain can often be caused by the environment around us, just as much as the devices we are using. Therefore, make sure you have proper overhead lighting, you are viewing your distance from far enough away (50-100cm) and the top of your computer monitor is just below eye level. These factors will all help to put your vision more at ease.
  • Keep you eyes lubricated:  Remember to blink frequently, and if you are feeling some eye strain or irritation, lubricate with an artificial tear drop.
  • Treat your presbyopia:  If you are past your mid 40’s your eye have begun to lose their ability to focus up close.  Consider wearing office progressive glasses, which are designed to improve your intermediate (computer range) and close (reading) vision.

If you would like to learn more about digital eye strain and how it affects your vision, be sure to contact OCLI today!

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