21st-Century Problems: The Truth About Digital Eye Strain

On average, Americans spend a staggering 11 hours per day on their smartphones and tablets. From flicking through social media to streaming your favorite television show to checking out the latest from the top YouTube bloggers, it’s likely you spend a lot of time staring at a screen. What you might not know is that all that computer and e-reader time can result in a problem called computer vision syndrome.

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain, is the term experts use to refer to a collection of vision issues related to long-term screen use. There seems to be a direct correlation between the severity of symptoms and increased screen time, and as society continues to up its reliance on digital communication and internet technology, more and more people are suffering the visual consequences.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?

If you’re a frequent computer, laptop, or tablet user or like to binge watch TV, look out for these signs that it’s time for a break:

  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Irritation, redness, or dry eyes
  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain

It’s important to note that blue light and digital screens aren’t the only causes of computer vision syndrome. Glare, the angle at which you hold your device, improper viewing distances, bad lighting, poor posture, and underlying vision conditions can all contribute to your discomfort.

Reducing Digital Eye Strain

The easiest way to minimize symptoms is to stop using digital devices, but that’s neither practical nor realistic. Instead, take steps toward smarter, more mindful usage.

  • Take frequent breaks
  • Watch TV and use your devices in a properly lit environment
  • Avoid squinting at the screen — if you can’t see, it may be time for an eye exam or you may want to adjust the font size or tweak your browser settings
  • Sit up straight and avoid holding your head and neck at an odd angle
  • Opt for eyewear that reduces glare

Already experiencing eye pain? Call (309) 243-2400 to schedule an exam at Illinois Eye Center and get your vision checked ASAP.

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