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How to Reduce Eye Strain from Screens

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In today’s digital age, many of us spend time every day looking at screens for hours on end. Whether for work, education, or entertainment, these screens may contribute to eye strain. This can lead to headaches, dry eyes, or even sleeping problems. It’s important to do what you can to avoid feeling this eye strain to minimize the effects a screen can have on your life.

By taking breaks often, adjusting your screen settings, and optimizing your environment, you can avoid or reduce eye strain from screens. It’s also important to visit your optometrist for regular comprehensive eye exams if you’re noticing eye strain, as most adults should receive an eye exam once every 1–2 years, depending on your optometrist’s recommendation. 

An optometrist can help you determine if screens are causing a negative effect on your life and help you develop an approach to resolve this. 

Why Do Screens Cause Eye Strain?

When you’re constantly staring at a screen and focused on what you’re seeing, you tend to blink less, leading to dry and irritated eyes. If the screen is too bright or dim, your eyes often need to work harder to clearly see, and this can lead to eye fatigue and strain. 

Often, digital eye strain isn’t caused by one specific thing. Instead, it’s usually a combination of many factors. The screen’s brightness, your posture, how close you are to the screen, the size of the text you read—all of these may lead to the development of fatigue or eye strain.

The symptoms of eye strain often include:

  • Feelings of fatigue in the eye
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Dry eyes

It’s important to regulate your screen time and take proper precautions to avoid being negatively affected by the light screens emit.

young woman sitting back in her chair and resting her eyes with her laptop on her lap in a room surrounded by plants

Tips for Reducing Eye Strain While Using Screens

While your job, education, or hobbies may prevent you from avoiding screens altogether, you can take steps to avoid them impacting your life too much. For example, you could:

  • Optimize your screen. Lowering the brightness levels or contrast may help avoid eye strain, especially if the area you’re in is particularly dim.
  • Take frequent breaks. Every 20 minutes, look at an object far away for about 20 seconds. This helps your eyes refocus and gives them a chance to rest.
  • Increase the text size or zoom in. This makes sure your eyes aren’t working too hard when reading smaller text on the screen.
  • Use an anti-glare protector. Many modern devices have built-in features that can reduce the amount of light emitted by the screen.
  • Reduce your screen time. By reducing the time spent looking at screens, you may be able to avoid the effects light may have on your day-to-day life!

Optimize Your Area

Optimizing your computer area or workspace can help prevent eye strain. For example, by positioning your screen at arm’s length, your eyes don’t have to work as hard to focus. It can also help with your overall posture and reduce the risk of developing muscular problems.

It can help to position your screen at eye level to avoid developing neck and shoulder pain. You should also make sure your workspace is well-lit so your eyes don’t have to work harder. Use a desk lamp or change the overhead lights if your area is too dim.

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams can help your optometrist identify and monitor digital eye strain, and provide solutions for managing it in your daily life. By taking proper precautions to avoid eye strain, like taking breaks often and optimizing your area, you can support your eye health and comfort. 

Here at Perspectives Vision Clinic, your vision is as important to us as it is to you. If you want to learn more about preventing eye strain, schedule an appointment with us today!


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  • Written by Dr. Marcie Nichols

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