Do I Have Digital Eye Strain? 

September 24, 2022

Nowadays, almost everyone -children and teenagers included- spends long hours looking at computers, mobile phones, and video games. As incredible as these new technologies are, they place considerable strain on the eyes. For these reasons, an estimated 70 percent of American adults experience digital eye strain.

Knowing what symptoms to watch for can help you take steps towards gaining relief. Read on as a Hackensack, NJ optometrist talks about digital eyestrain, its symptoms, and available treatment options.

What Is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain is actually a group of eye and vision problems that can affect different people in different ways. Here are just a few of the effects that come from looking at a screen for long periods:

  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Mental fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Digital screens make our eyes work harder than they ever have before. Glare, contrasting colors, and repeatedly focusing and refocusing place high visual demands on the eyes. Not surprisingly, both adults and children can experience digital eye strain. Also, working with figures on a screen compared to on a page (on paper) requires different viewing distances and angles, which can also aggravate eye strain.

Who’s Most at Risk of Getting Digital Eye Strain?

For most people, symptoms of digital eye strain develop because the visual demands of the task exceed their visual abilities to perform these tasks comfortably. And if you have even minor vision problems, the risk of developing eye strain increases considerably. 

In some cases, glasses and contact lenses may not be suitable for viewing digital devices even if they’re the correct prescription. This can cause you to tilt your head at odd angles to better see the screen. The resulting posture from doing this can cause muscle spasms in the shoulders, back, or neck.

Other risk factors for developing digital eye strain include:

  • Spending two or more continuous hours looking at a digital screen
  • Not taking breaks when you’re working
  • Being too close to your computer or digital device 

Treatment Options

Treatments for digital screen-related vision problems vary from person to person. For instance, people who don’t wear corrective eyewear may benefit from using glasses that are specifically prescribed for a computer or digital use. Likewise, if you normally wear glasses or contacts, it may be time to get an eye exam to see if it’s time to change prescriptions. The same goes for contact lens wearers.

Other options include special lens designs, lens tints, and lens coating to help relieve eye strain symptoms.

If you have more questions or wish to schedule an eye exam appointment, feel free to call our Hackensack, NJ optometry office!

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