We are living in a digital world now more than ever. Spending hours watching TV, books transformed into e-books, even abandoning debit cards and paying directly with our phones; digital devices are becoming more essential in our everyday lives. Everything around us, as a result, continues to get faster, smarter and overwhelmingly digital.
We have all the information we would ever need right at our fingertips. Constantly using our phones to mindlessly scroll on social media, texting, researching, also many of us have jobs that require us to stare at a computer screen hours at a time. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), 58 percent of adults have experienced digital eye strain or vision problems. Digital eye strain is the temporary discomfort that follows two or more hours of digital device use which as a result causes the eyes to work harder to focus on the small pixelated images that technology holds.
Symptoms associated with digital eye strain include:
- dry eyes
- blurred vision
- eye discomfort
- neck and shoulder pain.
In fact, the average U.S. workers spend seven hours a day on a computer, either in the office or working from home The mere use of digital devices is not only what affects our vision but also the way we use them. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recognizes the need to address this issue stating that, “as more people spend their days at work on a computer and their free time on handheld devices, doctors of optometry seeing more patients who are experiencing digital eye strain,” said Steven A. Loomis, O.D., president of AOA. Furthermore provided five simple steps that can relieve the problem:
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
- Keep a distance: The AOA recommends sitting a comfortable distance from the computer monitor where you can easily read all text with your head and torso in an upright posture and you’re back supported by your chair. Generally, the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 28 inches from the eye to the front surface of the screen.
- View from a different angle: Ideally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees, or about 4 to 5 inches, below eye level as measured from the center of the screen.
- Decrease glare: While there is no way to completely minimize glare from light sources, consider using a glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
- Blink often: Minimize your chances of developing dry eyes when using a computer by making an effort to blink frequently