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What Can Cause Eye Strain and Dryness?

As we spend more time working from home and virtual learning, not to mention the time spent on our phones looking at social media, there is an increased concern over dry eye and eye strain among our patients. There is even a marked increase in children with dry eye and digital eye strain from increased screen time. When we as eye doctors survey patients on a daily basis, there is no doubt that most (if not all) screen users experience some degree of dryness and digital eye strain.

How to Reduce Eye Strain and Dryness

In addition, other symptoms like headaches, blurry vision, and eye fatigue can be a product of prolonged screen use. It has become so prevalent that there is a medical diagnosis for this: Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). There is sufficient evidence in literature that proves that we actually blink 66% less while working on the computer or reading!  So the next time you are in front of a computer whether it be work, video games, browsing the web, checking e-mails, here are some tips to help combat digital eyestrain and dryness:

  1. Take a 20 second break from computer work or near work every 20 minutes. We call this the “20/20” rule! Easy to remember, right?
  2. Hold digital media devices around 18-24 inches away from your eyes.
  3. DECREASE the brightness of your computer screen to INCREASE comfort. 
  4. Wear eyeglasses instead of contact lenses. Contacts can increase dry eye symptoms, especially when working in front of the computer.
  5. Remember to blink! Use good artificial tears frequently to lubricate those dry eyes.

You may have seen “blue light-blocking glasses” in optical shops and even online – while these are helpful, they are absolutely not necessary. The fact is that too much exposure to blue light and UV light can increase the risk of eye disease, but the small amount of blue light emitted by computer screens is not proven to be harmful to our eyes long term. Know that digital eye strain is a result of how we use our digital devices and NOT specifically blue light.  

In this day and age, we are tethered to our phones, our computers, our video games, and it is without a doubt a fact that we are constantly surrounded by digital devices. It goes without saying that we cannot escape the digital trend we are moving towards. But it should be reassuring to know that digital eyestrain and dryness can be preventable if you follow the above tips!

Get Help

If you are suffering from eye strain, eye dryness, or would like to learn more, please contact our team today!