Digital eye strain continues to be a prevalent issue for eye patients, and one that does not seem to be ceasing any time soon. Formally defined as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or digital eye strain, by the American Optometric Association (AOA), this is a group of eye and vision-related problems that results from prolonged usage of computers, tablets, e-readers, and cell phones. These devices create increased stress to vision, particularly near vision, resulting in a wide variety of issues. Our team of experts has come together to offer insights on this challenge and suggest tips and tricks to avoid digital eye strain.
Focus on Ergonomics
Improving ergonomics, particularly in the workplace, helps to reduce discomfort and increase productivity. Basic principles of optimal ergonomic design include:
- Placing the computer monitor at or just below eye level. A higher screen can cause strain in the neck and upper back muscles
- There should be adequate room for the keyboard and the mouse, so that the wrists and hands are in line with the forearms and not positioned in an uncomfortable way
- Sitting at least an arm’s length from the computer screen, as any shorter distance contributes to eye strain
- Adjusting room lighting to increase contrast on the computer
Implementing these recommendations in the workplace environment will help reduce eye strain and provide a more comfortable and productive workspace.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), duration of exposure to digital screens should be limited, and dependence on smartphones should be reduced. Taking regular breaks is an important way to limit screen time and offers an opportunity for refreshing and rejuvenating the eyes. The 20-20-20 rule for visual breaks is as follows:
Every 20 minutes, take eyes off of screens for 20 seconds, and look at an object 20 feet away.
Frequent, short breaks following this principle have been proven to reduce visual discomfort at work while improving focus and productivity.
Reduce Glare and Brightness
Devices with screens can cause glare, which can be distracting and harmful for the eyes. To reduce glare, consider a matte screen filter for devices to aid in tampering the glare and limiting its impact. Adjusting the brightness and contrast on screens can also help in preventing digital eye strain, as well as dimming any lighting near your eyes.
To further reduce glare and lighting disruptions, position the computer screen so it is away from overhead lights and windows. Use blinds or drapes to block any window glare, and replace light bulbs, particularly those in desk lamps, to a lower wattage bulb.
Our expert ReFocus team understands that screen usage is often inevitable, as screens and technology have become such an engrained part of society. Despite this, we encourage adoption of the tips and tricks we’ve shared today to help reduce the negative impact of technology on eyesight. Following these recommendations could help reduce the impacts of digital eye strain, as well as help in preventing its occurrence.