In this ever changing, fast-paced world, our lives are increasingly centered around screen use and some of us have become obsessed with ‘screen-time’. As the amount of time that we are in front of a computer, phone, tablet, tv etc… digital eye strain is beginning to become a significant issue.
Digital eye strain, also known as Asthenopia, refers to a range of symptoms commonly associated with viewing screens for an extended period. Symptoms tend to worsen the longer you are exposed to screens. It is important to note that eye strain doesn’t lead to permanent eye damage. Since the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, eye strain issues have become more common with 1 in 3 noticing a deterioration in their eyesight as a result of increased screen time during the pandemic.
Many would say, the easiest solution would be to reduce screen-time. However, for many of us, this may not be an option. The good news is that there are several things you can do to make your eyes more comfortable.
Eye strain is caused when the eyes are focused on something for a prolonged period of time. Common causes include digital screen use, reading without resting the eyes, stress, fatigue, driving for a long period of time, straining to see a dim light and exposure to bring light. Symptoms include eye discomfort, headaches, light sensitivity, blurred vision, watery eyes, dry eyes, difficulty focusing, sore, itchy eyes.
Prevention is key!
Regular eye exams are essential for comfortable vision. The health and safety (display screen equipment) regulations 1992 stipulate that employees using Visual Display Units (VDUs or computer monitors) should be provided with an eye exam by their employer.
This technique is recommended for all screen users. If you spend a lot of your day looking at a screen, you should try the 20:20:20 rule, meaning you should take a small break every 20 minutes to focus you eyes on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help your eye muscles relax and reduce the likelihood of digital eye strain.