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Everyone is staring at a computer screen, phone or other digital device these days. And it can cause a problem called digital eye strain. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use.
Digital eye strain affects people of all ages. If you spend hours a day using digital devices, you might notice your vision blurs, or your eyes feel achy and tired. You may also find your eyes become dry, and may tear or sting.
We are not likely to cut back on cell phone and computer use any time soon. So what can we do about digital eye strain? Here are some tips to relieve your eyes.
- Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
- Blink frequently. Make a conscious effort to blink as often as possible. This keeps the surface of your eyes from drying out.
- Try blue light blocking glasses. While there’s not a lot of research to show whether or not blue light blocking glasses have benefits or not, The Vision Council, which represents the optical industry, says “specialized glasses” are “one tactic” that might cut eyestrain. Samuel Pierce, OD, former president of the American Optometric Association, told USA Today he recommended using blue light glasses to lessen eyestrain.
- Try a blue light blocking screen protector. Instead of shielding your eyes, you can put a filter over your computer screen. Like most screen protectors, it’s a panel that you stick on your laptop screen or computer monitor.
- Figure 8 Eye Exercise. You may have practiced this exercise, sometimes called “yoga eyes,” if you’ve ever taken a yoga class. This exercise should be done from a seated position, such as at your desk, while relaxing in your favorite chair, or while in an easy, seated yoga pose.
Pick a point on the floor about 10 feet in front of you and focus on it.
Trace an imaginary figure eight with your eyes.
Keep tracing for 30-seconds, then switch directions.
- Focusing Exercises.
Alternate between looking at very distant and very close objects. For example, when seated or standing at home or at the office, alternate between looking at your nose and looking at a farther away building or tree. Repeat several times.
Alternate between looking right and left.
The more time spent in front of digital devices, the greater the strain on your eyes and your mind. Also, simply closing your eyes for a few moments can give those fatigued ocular orbits a much needed reprieve from visual stimuli and processing.
- AAPOS.org “Definition of Optometric Vision Therapy.” Accessed 14 Nov 2020: https://aapos.org/glossary/vision-therapy
- Neuroscience, 2nd edition. “The Actions and Innervation of Extraocular Muscles.” Accessed 14 Nov 2020: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10793/
- HealthLine.com: “Eye Exercises: How-to, Efficacy, Eye Health, and More.” Accessed 14 Nov 2020: https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/eye-exercises
- YogaInternational.com “4 Exercises for Eye Strain” https://yogainternational.com/article/view/4-yoga-exercises-for-eye-strain