Digital Eye Strain – Symptoms, Signs, and Some Ways for You to Browse Safely

Digital eye strain symptoms

As we become ever reliant on digital technology in our day-to-day lives, the prevalence of digital eye strain is only increasing. 

This could pose serious challenges in the future. Although the links between screen-time and long-term harm, eye disease, or retina damage, are still yet to be established, excessive screen use can result in some unpleasant symptoms. 

Some eye strain symptoms include: 

  • Eye fatigue, twitching, and discomfort
  • Watery, or dry, eyes
  • Headaches
  • Blurred, or doubled, vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

    Following from this, we have included, below, a list of methods to reduce you & your students’ risk of developing digital eye strain symptoms.

Minimising the symptoms of digital eye strain:

Lighting – 

This is one of the main causes of eye strain symptoms, and digital eye strain itself: improper lighting.

However, it can come in many forms. These include: the level and type of external light, how the light is angled, how it is reflected off of nearby surfaces… the list goes on.

For the most part, using softer, lower lighting levels will reduce screen glare and eye-tiredness. Remove fluorescent bulbs – these are a key player in contributing to digital eye strain. Consequently, managing both the type and level of light are key facets in reducing the prevalence of eye strain symptoms. 

Following on from this is screen glare. Screen glare is caused by light reflecting off of screens or other finished surfaces. So, adjust your screen and chair, and angle them so they aren’t in direct light. Or, if possible, work in a darker room. Matte surfaces are great for countering glare. 

Alternatively – if your digital eye strain symptoms really need addressing, but redecorating isn’t in the cards – you can invest in an anti-glare screen, or even anti-reflective coating for your glasses. 

However, if you are looking for a smaller change, some companies offer blue-light glasses, which can filter out the tiring, and potentially damaging, blue light that many screens emit – allowing you to browse for longer, without worrying about eye strain symptoms developing.

Setup – 

Secondly; setup. Ensuring you are set up correctly is one of the other crucial clements of reducing digital eye strain.

Having an up-to-date monitor, with a higher refresh rate, can help reduce eye strain symptoms by decreasing noticeable ‘flickers’ in the image. This is a major factor in causing digital eye strain.

Generally speaking, larger, higher resolution, monitors are easier on the eyes. 

It’s also worth noting that your position, and your monitor’s position, are both instrumental in controlling your eye strain symptoms. Therefore, ensure you are a suitable distance from the screen, and it is positioned slightly below your field of view, to help avoid digital eye strain.

Furthermore, it is crucial to ensure your monitor is correctly optimised to reduce eye strain symptoms. So, adjust the brightness, contrast, and colour-temperature of your screen as appropriate to find what works best for you. There are some great tips on this here

Behaviour – 

The final component to reducing the effect of digital eye strain symptoms is behavioural changes. 

Behavioural changes you can make to help avoid digital eye strain include blinking more, to help avoid dry or red eyes. Crucially, many people blink less frequently when using digital devices, as the bright and highly stimulating screens are hard to look away from. 

Another important behavioural change to implement is taking regular breaks to exercise your eyes. In an earlier blog post, we mentioned FightForSight’s 20-20-20 rule – for every 20 minutes you spend at your computer, look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. 

Finally, above everything else – of the utmost importance to avoiding digital eye strain, and minimising eye strain symptoms is getting regular eye exams. Ensure you are honest and forthcoming with them about how much you use digital devices. 

Say Goodbye to Digital Eye Strain Symptoms: Concluding

  • Adjust Lighting – softer, lower.
  • Evaluate glare – screen & surroundings
  • Anti Glare coatings (lenses or monitors)
  • Update your monitor
  • Check your positioning
  • Adjust display settings
  • Blink more
  • Take regular breaks
  • Get regular eye exams

We hope that the above list has provided you with a few ideas as to how to tackle digital eye strain. Although some of these tips may prove difficult to implement in a classroom setting, they can all be invaluable in contributing towards lessening the effects of eye strain symptoms. 

labelled diagram of human eye

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