What is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital devices – computers, tablets, mobile phones, video game consoles, and virtual reality goggles – are a mainstay in today’s lifestyle – even more so with more people working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing. However, this also has negative affects on our eyesight, especially with regard to digital eye strain.

In fact, The Vision Council recently reported data related to how Americans are using digital devices and the impact that use has as on our eye health. Research from The Vision Council shows more than 83 percent of Americans use digital devices for more than two hours per day and over half (53 percent) report using two devices simultaneously.

Not surprisingly, as a result, more than 60 percent of Americans report experiencing symptoms related to digital eye strain including:

What is surprising is the fact that, although the majority use digital devices routinely and experience digital eye strain, 71 percent of Americans report they have not discussed their device use habits and resulting symptoms with their eye doctor. As a result, most people are unaware of the eyewear and health behaviors that can be employed to help protect eyes from the effects of digital eye strain.

Many people are aware of the 20-20-20 rule for healthy digital device use: taking a 20-second break from the screen every 20 minutes and looking at something 20 feet away. It’s a good excuse to stand up and move your body around at the same time you are giving your eyes a break from the screen. If you are fortunate enough to be near a window, check out what is going on outside. Or, better yet, go outside and take a short walk.

Other recommendations from The Vision Council include:

In today’s lifestyle, you may not be able to reduce your use of digital devices. But understanding what to do to ensure you are using them safely is part of the self-care that is so important to staying healthy. The research shows that more people need to discuss their digital device use with their eye doctors. Particularly if you are experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain, now is a good time to book your annual eye exam to check your overall eye health and any vision correction needs you may have and what your options are for addressing them. While there, take the time to talk with your eye doctor about strategies for protecting yourself and your vision from potential harm and ways to manage any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Published April 23, 2018
Blurred blue circle
Blurred cream colored circle