If you work on a computer, you probably know how tired your eyes feel at the end of the day. But even if you don’t spend all day in an office, it’s likely you spend some of your time using a digital device, such as a phone or tablet. In fact, according to The Vision Council, more than 83 percent of Americans report using digital devices for more than two hours per day.1
In many children and adults, screen time can lead to computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain.2 Common symptoms include eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and shoulder pain. 2
Whether the bulk of your device use is spent in an office, in a classroom, or at home, here are ten tips that can offer relief:
- Schedule a comprehensive eye exam: The first step to keeping your eyes healthy is visiting your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. While you’re there, be sure to mention how much time you spend in front of the screen.
- Follow the 20/20/20 rule: If you spend long hours in front of digital devices, make sure to take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on something else that is 20 feet away.
- Be conscious of how often you blink: When you work on a screen, your blink rate decreases, which can lead to dry eyes and blurry vision. To help prevent this, try to make a conscious effort to blink more often when using your digital devices.
- Get moving: Most people only take two 15-minute breaks throughout the work day, but taking shorter, more frequent breaks from working on digital devices can give your eyes a rest. Make sure to get up, stretch, and move around during your breaks too.
- Don’t look up at your monitor: Since most people find it easier to view a computer screen at a downward angle, the American Optometric Association recommends that the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.
- Rethink your lighting: Glare is not your friend. To avoid it, position your computer screen away from fluorescent lights and consider floor lamps instead of overhead lighting. You can also prevent glare from outdoor light by using curtains.
- Check display settings: Avoid straining your eyes by adjusting the brightness of your screen so that it matches the light around you. If your screen looks like a light source, it is too bright. If it looks dull or gray, it is too dark. Text size and contrast make a difference too. Typically, looking at dark letters against a light background is easier on your eyes.
- Get comfortable: Your chair should be comfortably padded and able to conform to your body and your arm rests ought to provide support while you type. You may also need to adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor.
- Use a document holder: If you are looking back and forth between paper and your screen, use a document holder. Paperwork should be placed below your monitor but above your keyboard and should be located at an angle in front of your computer screen.
- Ask about glasses or contact lenses: If you are concerned about Digital Eye Fatigue, ask your doctor about your options. Even if you don’t wear glasses all of the time, a specialized prescription might lessen eye strain and reduce reflection and glare or filter out blue light. If you’d rather opt for contact lenses, Biofinity Energys™ are designed for all-day wear, so you don’t have to switch prescriptions throughout the day. If you’re a lens wearer who frequently uses a digital device, Biofinity Energys™ contact lenses with Digital Zone Optics® lens design can help eyes better adapt so they can seamlessly and continuously shift focus between digital devices and offline activities. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), the presence of even minor vision problems can significantly affect comfort and performance at a computer or other digital screen device,2 so talk to your doctor about options that address the symptoms of digital eye fatigue (DEF). If you don’t already have an eye doctor, you can locate one with CooperVision’s Eye Doctor Locator.
Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
1. The Vision Council. Digital Eye Strain. https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/content/digital-eye-strain
2. American Optometric Association. Computer Vision Syndrome. https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/protecting-your-vision/computer-vision-syndrome?sso=y