Our eyes work overtime when we use our computer, tablet or smartphone. Focusing on a screen that is within 6 to 20 inches of the eyes means locking in with our near-vision and leads to less blinking, overworked eye muscles and exposure to high frequency blue light. This is why eye strain has become more of an issue than ever in recent years.
Symptoms of eye strain include:
-A sensation of burning and/or tired eyes
-Dry or watery eyes
-Blurred or double vision
-Increased sensitivity to light
These symptoms can affect your productivity, daily activities and can even cause neck, shoulder and back pain. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce eye strain. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
-Try to blink more often. We may be focused on an interesting article or immersed in important work, but it is essential to be conscious to blink more when staring at a digital screen.
-Make sure that the ambient lighting is adequate. To avoid eye strain, it is important that the light intensity between the device you are looking at and your surroundings are at a similar level. Watching television in darkness will be more tiring for your eyes compared to doing so in a lit room, and the same goes for using your tablet or scrolling through your phone. It is also important to limit the glare on the screen, so be careful if you have your back to a window or if you see the reflection of your lamp on your screen.
-Give your eyes a break! You need to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds.
-Adjusting your screen settings can also help relieve eye strain. Most digital devices now have a function that can adapt the brightness of the screen automatically to the ambient light. Maybe, increasing the font size or contrast on your device may also help.
-Blue light filtering glasses absorb the blue light emitting from the digital screen and can definitely help relieve the symptoms of eye strain. They may also help reduce the exposure to the blue light waves which can make it difficult for you to fall asleep if using your device before bed.
All of these tips can help reduce the symptoms, but they don’t replace the importance of seeing your optometrist. A change in your prescription since your last eye exam may be causing the discomfort.