Dishing on Digital Eyestrain

Dishing on Digital Eyestrain

Dishing on Digital Eyestrain

Most Americans get about seven hours of sleep each night. So what are we doing with the other 17 hours a day? For many of us, a lot of those hours are spent looking at a screen.

The Vision Council’s   2019 Digital Eyestrain Report reveals that close to 80 percent of adults report using digital devices for two or more hours a day. Nearly 55 percent say they look at some type of screen within the first hour they’re awake. And a whopping 80 percent admit they use digital devices in the hour just before they go to sleep.  

Spending so much time staring at computer monitors, laptops, tablets and smartphones leads to digital eye strain -- the physical discomfort felt after prolonged exposure to a digital screen. Despite the widespread use of digital devices, the latest annual Vision Watch survey reports that 49 percent of American adults say they don’t even know what digital eye strain is. Still, when asked, nearly six out of 10 Americans admit they experience symptoms of digital eye strain.

Symptoms can include:

  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes

It’s not uncommon to start experiencing this discomfort after spending two or more hours staring at a device. Symptoms of digital eye strain are usually temporary, but long-term effects are possible.

In addition to eyestrain, the Vision Council’s report points out another danger: Consistent exposure to high-energy visible light (HEV), or blue light, may be linked to long-term vision issues such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

What Can You Do to Reduce Digital Eyestrain?

For many people, technology is a major part of our jobs and daily lives. What can we do to help lessen the strain?

Try the 20/20/20 rule. After looking at a computer or other digital device for 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This quick break can actually improve your ability to work more efficiently and helps to prevent eyestrain.

Be screen smart. Move your computer monitor so you are about 25 inches away from the screen. Adjust your monitor and seat height so you can look slightly down at the screen, and place your feet flat on the floor.

With any digital device, the brightness of your screen should match the light level in the room. Use an antiglare display when possible, and keep it clean and dust-free. Adjust the screen’s contrast so text appears clear and bright against the background.

See an eye doctor. Uncorrected vision problems put extra strain on your eyes. Wear your glasses or contacts. If vision problems don’t go away when you’re not in front of a screen, visit an ophthalmologist. You might have a vision condition that needs treatment.

Your eye doctor can also suggest changes to your screen setup and other solutions. For example, some computer eyewear may help reduce eyestrain and prevent harmful blue light from penetrating your eyes.

Losing Shut-Eye?

Your digital device might also be to blame if you are having trouble sleeping. Using mobile phones, e-readers, tablets, laptops and other devices before bed can affect the quality and quantity of your sleep. They give off light that can shift circadian rhythms and the production of melatonin – a hormone that regulates sleep. Avoid using light-emitting devices for at least an hour before your bedtime. Read a print book or newspaper instead.

Keep an Eye on Your Kids

It is important to limit computer use and other screen time for children. They are less likely to take a needed break or even notice discomfort or other symptoms associated with computer vision problems.

The American Academy of Pediatrics   recommends that children younger than two not use digital media devices. They also recommend that older children's screen time be limited to no more than one or two hours a day.

Do you have your eye on good vision? What's your secret to a good night's sleep in our digital world?

Source: The Vision Council Shines a Light on Protecting Sight and Health in a Multi-Screen Era,   The Vision Council, 2019; How Does Technology Affect Sleep,   Sleep.org, 2021; Media and Children,   American Academy of Pediatrics, 2021.

Originally published 3/8/2016; Revised 2021

Anonymous
  • Finally a cure for diabetes exists. It's not a pharmaceutical drug, but a very safe all natural herbal product that restores your body's own ability to naturally control it's own blood glucose levels back to normal. I have been battling with diabetes type 2 for 12 years now, before a friend lead me to DR WATER. I went on to give it a try. I provided him with all he needed. And a few days later, I received a call from UPS to come collect some herbal products from DR WATER. I can't believe that after using those herbal products, I was healed and I can not stop telling people about this experience. When I went to the hospital for check up, my doctor was surprised and he even ask for DR WATER's email DRWATERHIVCURECENTRE@GMAIL.COM, which i gave to him. This indeed is a genuine solution to Diabetes that I am sharing here, not those very costly medical treatment or a life-long use of diabetic supplements. If you need this herbal product, contact him now. His Whatsapp is : +2349050205019