Protect Your Eyes: Tips for Preventing Digital Eye Strain

There’s no doubt that technology has the power to keep us connected while providing a wealth of interactive learning experiences but with our kids spending more time in front of screens of all kinds, there’s an increased risk of digital eye strain. According to The Vision Council, digital eye strain is “caused by the overuse of digital devices.” Since devices such as tablets, smartphones, and other hand-products are designed to be held at close range, our eyes are always refocusing to process the graphics and text on the screen.

Research conducted by The Vision Council determined that over time, extensive time spent on devices causes our eyes to become fatigued, irritated, dry, and more likely to be subjected to vision problems. In their recent report, Screens, Phones, Tablets and More: Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age, The Vision Council found that 70% of Americans are experiencing a form of eye strain but less than half do anything to remedy the problem.

In order to keep your eyes healthy, The Vision Council suggests following the rule of 20-20-20 that suggests for every 20 minutes you spend on your computer, take 20 seconds to look away at something 20 feet away. Since it’s easy to forget, set the timer on your smartphone to sound every 20 minutes as a reminder to take a break. Segmenting device usage into 20 minute segments is also beneficial to children especially since it’s too early to tell how time spent on devices could impact their vision in the future.

It’s also a good idea to invest in a pair of specialized computer eyewear. Sunglasses protect our eyes from the harsh rays of the sun and computer eyewear is designed to provide clearer near and intermediate viewing thanks to specialized lenses and an anti-reflective coating that softens the glare of harsh overhead lights.

Prescription computer eyewear is available through eye care professionals in your area to fit favorite frames. Another great source is Gunnar. Gunnar provides single vision prescription and non-prescription lenses in a wide selection of fashionable choices most of which are between $79-99.

In addition to the 20-20-20 rule and prescription and non-prescription computer eyewear, The Vision Council also suggests the following solutions for healthier eyes:

  • Create ergonomic computer workstations and at-home gaming stations
  • Enlarge the fonts on your web browser, frequently used applications, eReader, and smartphone
  • Use ambient lighting. The American Lighting Association defines ambient lighting as “an area with overall illumination” with a “comfortable level of brightness without glare” that generally comes from indoor light sources such as chandeliers, ceiling or wall mounted light fixtures, and recessed or track lights.

Girl sitting behind a desk and working at a computer via Shutterstock

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  1. [...] Take computer breaks. For every 20 minutes you’re on the computer, take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away. This will help your eyes remain focused. [...]