DIGITAL EYE STRAIN
Do you feel like all you do is look at a screen all day? You’re not alone. A Nielson study last year reported the average American spends 11 hours per day on digital devices. No wonder your eyes feel tired at the end of the day! This eye fatigue, often called computer vision syndrome, affects nearly 70% of people who work on a computer daily. It also can affect children, who are spending more time on screens than ever. So what can we do?
First, get familiar with the symptoms of digital eye strain. If you spend more than 2 hours per day looking at a screen, whether it be a phone, tablet, computer, or TV, you may have experienced some of these symptoms:
Don’t suffer in silence! Talk with your optometrist about how your eyes feel throughout the day. At Bright Eyes Family Vision, we offer many solutions to keep your eyes comfortable all day long. First we determine what factors may be influencing your symptoms. Then we develop a solution to best suit your needs. And the best news is that technology is constantly evolving to find better ways to keep your eyes comfortable and healthy. Here are some options we may suggest:
If you spend all day at work staring at your computer screen, you may benefit from a pair of glasses specifically designed for that task. Most people over the age of 45 find themselves wearing bifocals, with or without a line. While these glasses may be great for general use, they often are not optimized for intermediate distances, such as at the computer. You wouldn’t wear a pair of casual sneakers to start training for a marathon, so don’t make your eyes rely on one pair of glasses for a marathon computer session! Computer glasses can come in many designs so stop by and talk with our expert optician to decide which is best for you.
The prevalence of digital eye strain doesn’t mean that everyone needs to wear bifocals. Lens companies have developed innovative solutions for patients under age 40 to help reduce eye fatigue. These lenses contain a small amount of accommodative relief to alleviate eye strain caused by viewing devices such as tablets and smartphones for long periods of time. We prescribe these lenses for kids, teens, and young professionals because it allows our patients’ eyes to stay comfortable, which increases focusing ability and productivity.
No pair of glasses is complete without a good anti-reflective treatment. This will improve vision, reduce eye strain, and makes your eyeglasses look more attractive. These benefits are due to the ability of the AR coating to virtually eliminate reflections from the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses. Another added benefit of certain anti-reflective treatments is the ability to block harmful blue light (415-455nm). These shorter wavelengths of visible light, which are often emitted at significant levels by display screens, are harder for the eyes to focus and may cause damage to the light-sensitive cells in the retina. Newer lens technology can include an invisible filter that decreases your exposure to high energy blue light.
The 20-20-20 Rule
One of the easiest ways to alleviate digital eye strain is to take frequent breaks to allow your eyes to relax. A general rule of thumb is for every 20 minutes you’re looking a screen, take a 20 second break to look into the distance at least 20 feet away. Consider adding 5 minute mini-breaks to your day to get up and stretch. Studies have shown that taking these quick breaks can actually increase your productivity.
We’d love to talk with you more about the best lens solution to meet your daily needs. Stop by or schedule a consultation today by calling 224-569-1001.