Are you affected by Digital Eye Strain?
Experts at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital Dubai weigh in on Digital Eye Strain
As technology advances, people are spending more and more time in front of screens. According to a study by Hootsuite in 2019, UAE residents spent an average of 4 hours of screen time per day. While this figure is unsettling, recent restrictions due to COVID-19 ushered in a new digital way of life that has inevitability increased screen time.
Whether people are working from home or e-learning, work, school, and social life have moved almost entirely online this year. The increased screen time can contribute to Digital Eye Strain (DES), a group of eye and vision-related problems that stem from viewing digital screens for prolonged periods.
Digital-related eye strain affects people of all ages. If you spend hours a day using digital devices, you might notice that your vision blurs, and your eyes feel itchy and tired. You may also find your eyes become dry and watery.
While in our current digital climate technology is unavoidable, understanding the symptoms and preventative measures for Digital Eye Strain can help patients limit their likelihood of developing the related ailments.
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome
There are two groups of symptoms linked with DES, those associated with reduced blinking and dry eyes and others related to lens focus.
Reduced blinking and dry eye can result in irritation, burning sensations, eye strain, headaches-remove headaches here, tired eyes, sensitivity to light, and those that are associated with focusing include blurred vision at the near and far distances and headaches after using a digital device.
These symptoms can be triggered by poor lighting, glare, and improper viewing distances.
Diagnosing Computer Vision Syndrome
DES can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing, with emphasis on visual requirements at the computer or digital device working distance, may include an assessment of patient history, visual acuity, and refraction test to confirm the correct lens power needed to compensate for any refractive errors.
Treating Digital Eye Strain
While solutions to digital screen-related vision problems are varied, they can usually be alleviated by obtaining regular eye care and making changes in how and the amount of time you view a screen.
In some cases, individuals who do not require the use of eyeglasses for other daily activities may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for computer use, and persons already wearing glasses may require a fine-tuned prescription to compensate for digital screen complications. In these cases, we advise patients to invest in a specialised lens that may help to maximize visual abilities and comfort while using technology.
Keeping the eye refreshed and lubricated is also essential to alleviate and reduce the chances of developing DES. Increasing the number of times you blink (the eye’s way of getting the moisture it needs on its surface), using artificial tears and a humidifier can help maintain optimal eyes moisturise.
Additionally, when viewing screens, adjusting brightness and contrast to a comfortable setting, reducing the glare, and sitting an arm’s length away from your computer can be beneficial.
Lastly, we recommend patients follow the 20-20-20 rule, which advises patients to take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes when using a digital screen.