Digital eyestrain or Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) affects approximately 90 percent of people who spend three or more hours per day with a digital device, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and the average U.S. worker spends 7 hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home and about 83% of children report using an electronic device more than three hours daily according to the AOA’s American Eye-Q® survey results. Needless to say, that is a lot of focusing required on a daily basis!

Digital devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, cellphones are becoming an integral part of our daily lives as more of our visual demands are becoming increasingly more “near.”

With increased computer usage, this can cause digital eyestrain which is associated with strain, fatigue, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck pain and double vision, among other symptoms.

We recommend the newer lens technology of the blue-light anti-reflective treatments to limit our patients’ exposure to the blue light entering the eye as well as reduce glare. It is designed to block only a portion of blue light that is harmful to the retina. The lenses remain clear and offer multiple benefits of reduction of glare, blue light protection as well as UV protection.

To further alleviate eye strain and eye fatigue, we recommend either a digital lens (anti-fatigue single vision lenses), computer progressives or reading glasses to help reduce the focusing load that your eyes have to do for all types for near work.

We also suggest some work desk modifications such as matching the screen’s luminosity to the room’s luminosity, adjusting the monitor height on a computer so it is slightly below eye level, eliminating glare from nearby windows and blinking frequently.

When we are concentrated on the screens of our digital devices, our blink rate reduces significantly causing an increased amount of dry eye and discomfort. We always recommend that our patients consciously blink to lubricate the eyes often, which keeps them comfortable and allows for clear vision.

“20/20/20 Rule” — Take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.

Here are 5 steps to relieve digital eye strain at work:  

  1. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
  2. Keep a distance. The AOA recommends sitting a comfortable distance from the computer monitor where you can easily read all text with your head and torso in an upright posture and your back supported by your chair. Generally, the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 28 inches from the eye to the front surface of the screen.
  3. View from a different angle. Ideally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees, or about 4 to 5 inches, below eye level as measured from the center of the screen.
  4. Decrease glare. While there is no way to completely minimize glare from light sources, consider using a glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
  5. Blink often. Minimize your chances of developing dry eyes when using a computer by making an effort to blink frequently.