With summer over and kids back in school, most of us are spending less time outside and more time in front of screens. Whether you’re a student writing papers and doing homework, or a parent sitting in front of the computer all day, it’s important to know how to prevent eye strain from computer or other screen use.

Digital Eye Strain Tired young male feel pain eye strain hold glasses, rubbing dry irritated eyes

Digital Eye Strain Explained

Digital eye strain refers to a general discomfort or vision difficulties that are the result of screen use. You may also hear it referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome. Headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes are all symptoms of digital eye strain.

People who don’t wear glasses or contacts as they should – or may not even know they need them – may be particularly susceptible to problems caused by digital eye strain. But, even people who wear corrective lenses can experience digital eye strain.

Digital eye strain and associated issues occur for a variety of reasons, including poor lighting, poor posture, poor screen resolution and incorrect brightness or contrast settings. If your eyes have to work harder to see the words on a screen, and you’re staring at a screen for hours a day, your eyes will feel the burden.

Prevention Tips

The 20-20-20 rule is an easy to remember and easy to implement way to help prevent digital eye strain. Set a timer for 20 minutes, then look away from your screen at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Then, repeat every 20 minutes. This gives your eyes a break from staring at a screen. When working and looking at the computer screen in the meantime, be sure to blink frequently.

Scrolling through your phone? Use the 20-20-20 rule, too. Digital eye strain can happen from staring at any screen, no matter the size.

Whether it’s your home office or a student doing virtual classwork at the dining room table, your desk set-up is also important for preventing digital eye strain. Arrange your monitor or laptop so that the screen is about two feet away from your eyes and so that you’ll be looking down slightly to see the screen.

You should also position your screen to avoid glare from lights and windows. Anti-glare covers for your screen can also be a good investment to help reduce eye strain.

Need Your Eyes Checked?

If you’ve noticed any eye discomfort or changes in your vision, Maine Optometry is here to help. Reach out any time to speak with our staff or set up an appointment at (207) 389-3525.