Digital Eye Strain
What is digital eye strain?
Digital eye strain is caused by a number of factors, including staring at close-up objects for extended periods of time. Another cause is insufficient blinking. People typically blink 12 times per minute, but when they stare at a screen, they tend to blink only five times per minute, which means their eyes are not being lubricated properly.
Children and digital eye strain
Symptoms of digital eye strain include headaches, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, eye irritation, double vision, excessive tearing or dry eyes and excessive blinking or squinting. Children may also exhibit symptoms such as irritability, poor behavior and a reduced attention span.
Research conducted by the Alberta Association of Optometrists indicates 28 per cent of parents say their child experiences symptoms during or after using digital devices. However, digital eye strain may be difficult for parents to detect because children may not show obvious signs of discomfort.
Your optometrist can recommend a customized solution, based on your child’s digital habits, to help prevent the adverse effects of digital eye strain. They may recommend computer glasses, which can help reduce eye fatigue.
Adults and digital eye strain
According to a survey conducted by the Alberta Association of Optometrists, Albertans spend an average of 10.5 hours using digital devices every day: three hours on work computers/laptops, 2.5 hours watching television, two hours on cell/smartphones, two hours on home computers/laptops and one hour on tablet devices.
More than 70 per cent of Albertans reported experiencing symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision and sensitivity to light as a result of using a digital device. Other symptoms of digital eye strain include eye irritation, double vision, excessive tearing or dry eyes and excessive blinking or squinting.
Based on your digital device habits, your optometrist can recommend a customized solution to help prevent the adverse effects of digital eye strain. They may recommend computer glasses, which can help reduce eye fatigue.
Digital eye strain: preventative measures
There are every-day preventative measures that can be taken to help reduce the risks of digital eye strain:
- Just walk away. Take a break for a few minutes and give your eyes a rest. Focus on something in the distance.
- Eliminate screen glare by reducing overhead lighting.
- Position the computer slightly below eye level and at arm’s length.
- Increase text size on digital devices.
- Adjust screen brightness.