What is Digital Eye Strain, and how to treat it?
Like it or not, computers and mobile phones have become an inseparable part of our lives. Every night, you promise to cut down your screen time but somehow, it only keeps increasing.
You might take a break from social media, even if it keeps you away from your daily dose of memes, but you can’t just ignore your boss’ email! Work or play, this is how the reality is now—digital!
From children to adults, we’re all in the same boat. Ironically, the parents who used to ask their kids to stop staring at the TV screens, now can’t put their own phone down. The result? Health problems have started rising, especially ones concerning the eyes.
One of the most common issues that has emerged is something called the Computer Vision Syndrome (also known as Digital Eye Strain).
What is Digital Eye Strain?
It is a group of eye and vision-related problems that occur owing to prolonged use of laptops, phones, tablets and other such devices.
Your eyes can end up being itchy and watery or dry and red, with a feeling of tiredness weighing them down. You may also find it difficult to focus on objects and words. As expected, these problems have risen in frequency in recent years.
What are the causes of Digital Eye Strain?
As the name suggests, Digital Eye Strain is caused by using digital devices for long hours—that includes reading, watching, or playing games. However, there are plenty of factors that come together to contribute to this problem:
- Screen glare
- Improper lighting
- Bad posture while using a device
- Watching/reading at an incorrect angle
- Existing vision problems that have been kept unchecked
People suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome may experience the following:
- Itchy, dry, teary or red eyes
- Blurred vision
- Neck and shoulder pain
Diagnosing Digital Eye Strain
You would need to visit a renowned eyecare centre to get a complete eye exam. An eye expert will assess your medical history and environmental factors as well to make a diagnosis.
Typically, the most crucial thing to be checked is how well your eyes focus, move and work together. Ideally, they should do all of the above in unison without any problems.
Your doctor might also advise a test to determine if you have any refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. They may also dilate your pupils and advise follow-up blood tests to get a thorough diagnosis.
Treating Digital Eye Strain
Since it has a plethora of different symptoms, there are different types of treatments prescribed for Digital Eye Strain, depending on your case. Some of the most common ones are:
- Lubricating eye drops
- Staying hydrated
- Taking a medicine to enhance tear production
Besides these, there are a few lifestyle changes that can be made to alleviate the symptoms. Such as:
- Blinking frequently
- Increasing the font size of the text while reading
- Resting your eyes by taking breaks after every couple of hours of screen use (Do ensure the break lasts at least 15 minutes)
- Adjusting the brightness of your screen and avoiding glare as much as possible
- Following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at an object around 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds
- Placing your screen at an arm’s length (roughly 20-28 inches away from your eyes)
- Fixing your posture
Also, do note that wearing glasses or contact lenses that are not suitable for digital devices can also lead to Digital Eye Strain. So, make sure you choose the right glasses/contact lenses or, better yet, you can just get rid of them by getting a refractive procedure done at Planet LASIK.