Do Your Eyes Need a Digital Detox?

After hours of using a computer, smartphone, or other digital device, you may notice that your vision blurs and your eyes feel achy, tired, and dry. This is digital eye strain, and it affects screen users of all ages.

Thankfully, long periods of digital viewing will not cause permanent eye damage, but digital eye strain can be a real and uncomfortable problem. Read on for some tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology on how to prevent and relieve screen-related eye strain.

1. Blink!
Humans normally blink about 15 times in one minute, but studies show that we only blink about 5 to 7 times a minute while using computers and other digital screen devices. To keep the surface of your eyes from drying out, make a conscious effort to blink as often as possible. Hint: put a sticky note on your computer screen to remind you to blink often!

2. Lube ‘Em Up.
Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry. If you are often in a dry, warm room, consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

3. Follow the “20-20-20” Rule.
Take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

4. Use Computer Eyeglasses.
If you spend hours in front of a computer, you might find that using “computer eyeglasses” reduces eye strain. These prescription glasses allow you to focus your eyes specifically at computer screen distance (intermediate distance, which is about 20-26 inches away from your face). Some of these glasses, like Shamir Computer advanced lenses, are specially designed for the workplace. They allow you to quickly shift your focus between close, intermediate, and further distances. The Atlantic Eye Optical department will help you identify the optimal lenses for your individual needs when working in front of screens.

5. Adjust Brightness and Contrast.
If your screen glows brighter than your surroundings, your eyes have to work harder to see. Adjust your screen brightness to match the level of light around you. Also, try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain.

6. Reduce the Glare.
The screens on today’s digital devices often have a lot of glare. Try using a matte screen filter to cut glare. Check with your computer store or cell phone store to see what they can provide.

7. Adjust Your Position at the Computer.
When using a computer, you should be sitting about 25 inches (right about at arm’s length) from the screen. Also, position the screen so your eye gazes slightly downward, not straight ahead or up.

It seems unlikely that we’ll cut back on cell phone and computer use any time soon, but taking these suggested steps may help you prevent the discomfort of digital eye strain. And remember to call us with any concerns or to find out more about specialized computer glasses. Atlantic Eye doctors are always here to help keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear, so you can enjoy the digital lifestyle!