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Fidelity Business Blog: Post

Common Mistakes That Leads to Digital Eye Strain

  • Posted May 18, 2021

From phones to laptops and tablets to smartwatches, we – and our eyes – are constantly viewing some type of screen. This is likely what causes our eyes to get strained by the time each day ends. According to the Vision Council, 80 percent of adults watch a digital screen for more than two hours a day. And nearly two-thirds of them suffer from symptoms of digital eye strain. Consider the ways you can recognize these symptoms and how to overcome the mistakes that cause digital eye strain.

Digital devices are especially challenging as it causes eye strain. This is attributed to the fact that people tend to blink less often when staring at them. In turn, your eyes become dry as they aren't getting the moisture needed. Additionally, a screen that's too near or far away, or even the glare from a window can be detrimental.

Symptoms of Eye Strain

To start, know the signs of an eye strain. According to the Mayo Clinic, here's a list of common symptoms:

  • Sore, tired, burning, or itching eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Headache
  • Sore neck, shoulders, or back
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty concentrating

Common Mistakes That Lead to Eye Strain

Getting rid of your phone, tablet or laptop, or smartwatch isn't practical when it comes to treating or preventing eye strain. However, there is good news. It's not serious and may probably disappear when you give your eyes a break. Nonetheless, a continued strain may lead to a more serious problem and likely need a doctor's care. Here are some common mistakes to avoid to keep your eyes rested:

  • Screen positioned incorrectly – By positioning your screen at eye level or slightly below, you can make a difference for your eyes. Adjust your chair and make sure the screen is at least an arm's length away. Reduce the screen's brightness and consider enlarging the type to make reading easier. For newer devices, adjust the color temperature, or blue light, as it can be handy when you're working under low light conditions or during the evening.
  • Too much light – Some shade goes a long way. Glare caused by too much light makes it challenging to view your screen. Look up and behind you to determine where the light source is. Adjust the blinds to control sunlight or turn off the overhead lights (particularly fluorescent ones). Options to consider are using a glare screen filter, task lighting for when you need light to read and a document holder to keep books in place so that you don't need to turn your neck.
  • Skipping the breaks – According to the Mayo Clinic, consider using the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes, look away for 20 seconds at something 20 feet from you. This perspective change allows your eyes to focus on something else and thereby reduce fatigue. Even better is to take a break by standing up and walking around. According to a NIOSH study, significant reductions in eye strain were seen when computer workers took four additional five-minute "mini-breaks" throughout the day.
  • Forgetting to blink – Simple, yet easy to forget when staring at your screen. With a simple blink, your body can produce moisture for your eyes so that it stays lubricated.
  • Foregoing the gear – There have been reports by some contact wearers of added strain and drier eyes while staring at the screen for an extended amount of time. In these circumstances, consider wearing eyeglasses. Moreover, do you know there are special glasses reserved for computer use? Its anti-reflective coating and tint that filters out blue light are helpful, even for non-glass wearers.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can better manage eye strain experienced from too much screen time. However, if you are experiencing persistent strain, it is recommended that you schedule a comprehensive eye exam. Think about your screen habits as you will be asked to describe them, including how far your eyes are from the screen, by the eye care professional.

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