Digital Eye Strain Blog Post by Hargrave Eye Center


Many of us sit in front of a computer for long hours without breaks as part of our jobs. But, sitting all day can lead to dangerous health conditions.  Similarly, starring at a computer screen all day can also lead to dangerous health conditions. This is known as digital eye strain and its becoming more and more popular among people working in this digital age.  According to new research by The Vision Council, 65% of Americans suffer from too much time spent in front of screens.

WebMD adds, research shows that people hold digital devices closer to their eyes than they hold books and newspapers. This forces your eyes to work harder than usual as they strain to focus on tiny font sizes. Digital devices may also be linked to eye fatigue because of a tendency to blink less often when staring at a computer screen. People usually blink about 18 times a minute. This naturally refreshes the eyes. But studies suggest that people only blink about half as often while using a computer or other digital device. This can result in dry, tired, itching, and burning eyes. 

In The Vision Council’s new research report called, Eyes Overexposed: The Digital Device Dilemma, 10,000 Americans were surveyed to learn more about the symptoms, conditions and treatments of digital eye strain. Surprisingly, 80 percent of surveyed Americans also use two or more devices simultaneously. Think of this as working on your computer, then checking an email or text on your phone. The report also found one out of every ten Americans is spending three-fourths of their time awake using a device — that’s nearly 18 hours a day!

Although digital device use is a family affair, every generation has their own unique habits. Here are some of the generational habits stats included in the most recent report:

  • Grandparents: More than 30% of adults 60 and older have had prolonged use of digital devices (two or more hours per day) for more than 15 years.
  • Young Adults: Nearly nine of 10 use two or more devices at a time and are more likely to use their smartphones for activities such as getting news updates.
  • Children and Teens: 65% spend two or more hours per day on a digital device, yet 77% of parents report being somewhat or very concerned about the impact of devices on children’s eyes.
  • Parents and Caregivers: 64% spend more than five hours a day looking at digital screens. 55%  use computers to shop online.

So, what can you do to prevent digital eye strain?  The Medical Daily website shares these five tips laid out by The Vision Council:

  1. Wear computer eyewear and glasses with lens options that can help reduce symptoms of digital eye strain, block harmful blue light, and improve vision.
  2. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break from the screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away.
  3. Build an optically optimal workspace to mitigate outside irritants. For example, reduce overhead lighting to eliminate glare.
  4. ‘High-five’ the screen for the right viewing distance when sitting at a computer.
  5. Increase text size on devices to better define content on the screen.