After a long day at work you might feel a headache coming on, or a tiredness in your eyes you can’t rub away, or any number of little irritations – these could all be signs of digital eye strain.
It is caused by prolonged use of the focusing muscles which our eyes use to make everything we concentrate on nice and sharp. When using digital screens, the amount of effort required is much higher than when looking at a person or a book.
Even if you take a few days off to recover (and time away from screens will certainly help) this will only be a temporary reprieve. Digital eye strain is caused by extensive use of your focusing muscles, and so symptoms may arise again once you go back to work.
Instead, there are some best practices you can observe at work, or in the home, to help minimize the effort required by your eyes.
These are speciality lenses designed to absorb glare, focus at the optimal distance and perhaps absorb certain wavelengths of blue light. Unlike reading or distance vision, computer monitors should sit around 25” from your eyes – owning a prescription for this distance will help your eyes relax. In addition, since some blue light has been linked to the development of serious eye diseases, its absorptive properties could be highly beneficial.
Digital Eye Strain can change your prescription needs. If your prescription has changed, we can help; our on-site optical lab can produce your lenses in as little as one hour.
By having soft, bright ambient light surrounding your screen, your eyes get a slightly easier job when it comes to focusing. Try putting back-lighting at the rear of your screen, as well as making use of sunlight which does not directly hit the screen – glare is a nightmare for the eyes, and should be avoided for those prone to eye strain.
Try positioning your monitor around 2 feet from your eyes and adjusting your color settings if the contrast is a bit low or you struggle to distinguish between colors.
The lens of your eye is very flexible – by bending and shaping the lens, light refracts (passes through) at different angles, allowing our brains to see objects as sharply as possible. This is controlled by focusing muscles. Many individuals turn to contact lenses or corrective laser surgery when their lenses cannot adequately focus at certain distances.
Using the computer or a smartphone for a prolonged amount of time causes these muscles to become fatigued. You can then feel tired, or even struggle to focus properly on the screen – this isn’t something a quick injection of coffee can resolve! You’re overworking your eyes, and you need to make a few changes to lessen the load.
Experiencing symptoms means that your focusing muscles are already exhausted – rather than powering through, you should start incorporating regular breaks into your schedule. Spending half a minute focusing on a larger, distant object can do wonders for relieving your eyes. Try doing this several times per hour as well as blinking regularly.
The most common symptoms are:
Digital eye strain is extremely common in the modern workplace. In fact, spending just 2 hours per day looking at a screen will significantly increase your odds of developing symptoms. You should work hard to incorporate ergonomic best practices and take regular “micro breaks” for your eyes.
In addition, make sure to arrange an annual eye exam so that your prescription is updated and your overall ocular health is well looked-after. Eye strain can be a sign of underlying illness, so it’s best to arrange an appointment if you notice consistent symptoms – if it’s troubling you, don’t bother waiting for your annual exam, just push it forward so we can get you back on the mend nice and quickly.
We are conveniently located at the corner of Peachtree Parkway and South Clement Rd, at the entrance to Creekstone Estates, in the Villages at CreekStone (near the intersection of HWY 141 and Old Alpharetta Rd).