Ask the Doc: What is Digital Eye Strain?

“Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is the physical discomfort you feel after two or more hours spent looking at a digital screen. It’s associated with the close to mid-range distance of digital screens, like desktop and laptop screens, cell phones and tablets.

According to a recent report from the Vision Council, nearly 60 percent of Americans use digital devices for five or more hours each day, and 70 percent use two or more devices at the same time. Reported symptoms of digital eye strain include neck, back and shoulder pain, eye strain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes.

Our society is becoming increasingly digitized as more of our work, favorite hobbies and social activities are moving online. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to protect your own eyes from digital eye strain.

How to Protect Your Eyes

  1. Wear specialized lenses when spending time in front of a computer screen. Computer glasses have lens technology to alleviate vision problems, while protecting your eyes from blue light, glare and other environmental stressors. Lenses and filters are customized to reduce blurriness and pixilation, block blue light, decrease brightness and minimize glare while working in front of digital screens. The Optical Boutiques at Illinois Eye Center can help you find the right pair of computer glasses for your vision
  2. Place your computer screen 20-26 inches away from your eyes, at or just below eye level. Use a document holder next to your computer screen, close enough so you don’t have to constantly change eye focus by swinging your head back and forth. Adjust the size of the text on your screen to a comfortable level and change your computer’s lighting to lower glare and harsh reflections.
  3. Follow the 20-20-20 break method. Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  4. Don’t forget to to blink!  With extended use of digital screens, we do not blink like we should. Use artificial tears throughout the day to keep your eyes well-lubricated.

These tips can also be applied at work or at home. The most important step you can take in protecting your vision is to visit an eye doctor for a dilated eye exam to make sure you are seeing clearly and to detect any potential issues. Schedule your eye exam today at Illinois Eye Center by calling (309) 243-2400 or visit for more information.” – Dr. Jacqueline Crow, Optometry, Contact Lenses 

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