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Easing Eye Strain from Digital Devices

January 30, 2018

The Digital Age in which we live has brought incredibly exciting innovations that have fundamentally changed the way we work, shop, and relate. The “micro-computers” that we know as today’s smartphones were inconceivable to the average consumer even twenty years ago, bringing with them a host of possibilities – and problems – equally as unimaginable.

“Our eyes are not built to stare at digital screens all day,” says advisor for The Vision Council, Justin Bazan, OD.  “The modern day world we live in is one in which we are frequently in front of a computer, working from our smartphones and reading on our tablets for hours on end. For many of us, this leads to tired, sore and fatigued eyes, and even headaches. Some of us may experience problems focusing. These are symptoms of digital eye strain.”

A recent Digital Eye Strain Report by the Vision Council  titled, Hindsight is 20/20/20, defines digital eye strain as “the physical discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen.” The reported cited multiple symptoms associated with excessive use of digital devices, including eyestrain (32.8 percent), neck, shoulder, and back pain (32.6 percent), headache (24 percent), blurred vision (23.3 percent) and dry eyes (22.8 percent).

Though there is a not a single cause for digital eye strain, there are number of things that users of digital devices can be aware of to mitigate this problem.

Viewing distance

When you’re using a desktop, it should be viewed at a distance of approximately an arm’s length away. When using a smartphone or tablet, it’s easiest on your eyes to view it from 16 to 20 inches away. Using these devices closer than these distances adds stress to the binocular and focusing systems and places more accommodative and convergence demands on the eyes.

Viewing angle

When viewing your digital screen, the angle of eyesight should be slightly down rather than neutral or upward, since viewing a screen that it situated too high puts unnecessary strain on the eyes as well as neck: “Instead of naturally converging on a near object, upgaze forces us to fight divergence, inducing eyestrain,” Dr. Bazan says. Also avoid angling the device of your screen in such a way that light is directly reflected, resulting in glare. 

Font type and style

Certain types and styles are easier to read than others. Decorative, “flowy,” or “flourished” fonts are the most difficult to read, while simple, “blocky” fonts are the easiest to decipher and therefore tend to pose less eye strain. Fonts that feature thicker or bold letters and clearly differentiated characters are the the most readable.


Contrast is critical in enhancing “readability” and therefore reducing eye strain: the higher the contrast, the easier text is to read. For this reason, black text against a white background is ideal for reducing eye strain. (Provided the white background on the digital device is not giving off so much light as to qualify as glare).

Line spacing

The most easily “trackable” distance between lines of text is 1.5 rather than single space. People with visual impairment often find the beginning of the next line difficult to track when reading single spaced text, and even those with perfect vision may experience eye strain from overly “dense” layouts.

New Sync Lenses

We have been having a lot of success in combating digital eye strain in our patients with the introduction of the new Sync lens from Hoya.   Sync is not a progressive lens. Sync features a completely unique design to the industry which applies radial and vertical asymmetry and aspherization to achieve separate but balanced right and left lenses. This exclusive design generates overlapped, comfortable retinal images to guarantee relaxed binocular vision in all directions as well as consistent clear image perception and depth of vision. Sync lenses provide needed assistance to the eye while constantly focusing and refocusing to intermediate and near-by distances. All in all, the advantages for wearers are clear: relaxed focusing/refocusing and clear vision, without any extra effort.  Sync lenses are now available in our optical shop

At OCLI, we’re a one-stop center for all your vision health needs! From treatments to soothe digital eye strain, to prescription sunglasses, to contact lens prescriptions, to permanent vision correction, to cataract surgery, we do it all! Reach out to us today for the friendliest and most technologically advanced eyecare around! 

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