Digital screens are very much a part of our everyday lives. For most of us, they are the first things we see in the morning and the last things we see at night. Some of us even spend the majority of our work days front of a screen.
So what do we do with the knowledge that screen time could potentially be the cause of physical pain and discomfort? Digital displays aren’t going anywhere, so we have to learn how to mitigate their negative effects. And to do that, we must understand what those effects are.
Digital eye strain describes the fatigue the human eye experiences from spending hours on end in front of a digital display. Your eyes use muscles to function, and just like any other muscles, they grow tired of doing any one thing for a long stretch of time.
Think of it this way: imagine holding a small cup of water away from your body with your arm straight in front of you. At first, this position would not be particularly uncomfortable. But as time went on, your shoulder and arm would start to ache, and in less than an hour, you would be in significant pain.
That is essentially what happens with digital eye strain; your eyes use their muscles to focus on a single point for hours at a time, and they simply start to grow tired.
It makes sense that focusing on a single point for hours causes the eye muscles to fatigue. But you also may have noticed that your eyes do not feel as tired reading a book for hours as they would staring at a screen for hours. That is because digital displays have a few extra elements that contribute to digital eye strain.
Digital displays emit a specific frequency of light called blue light. This particular frequency tends to scatter, making it very difficult for the eye to focus and interpret. As a result, the eye works even harder to make sense of what it is seeing.
Glasses can help alleviate eye strain by making the display easier to focus on. You can also ask for lenses with special blue light filters. These filters reduce the percentage of blue light reaching your eyes, allowing them to relax a little more while you work.
The way your workspace is set up can help mitigate digital eye strain. Your monitor should be an arm’s-length away from you and 20 degrees lower than your eye level. It also helps to keep your screen free of dust and glare if at all possible.
Give your eyes a chance to rest. The 20-20-20 rule can be quite helpful: every 20 minutes, find an object that is 20 feet away and focus on it for 20 seconds. This is like the ocular equivalent of stretching your legs.
Airdrie Family Eye Doctors are located on main street south of the Tower Lane Mall Safeway. Come “see” us today! Or, feel free to call our clinic phone number.
705 Main St S, Suite 150
Airdrie, AB T4B 3M2