March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month and this month, we’re addressing a serious eye problem that plagues millions: digital eyestrain. Digital-related eyestrain, though temporary, is serious. While it may not necessitate a trip to the hospital or cause permanent damage, it does cause painful and productivity-hindering side effects like migraines or blurry vision. According to research published in BMJ Ophthalmology, an astounding 65% of adults report having symptoms of digital eyestrain from electronic usage. Because the modern world all but requires the use of digital technology, it is crucial to learn good digital habits that can help mitigate the unpleasant symptoms of this 21stcentury eye problem.

What is digital eyestrain?

Digital eyestrain occurs when eyes become tired, painful, or dry from overextended periods of working at desktop computers. On average, people blink about a third less while doing very close focusing like reading or computer work, which can lead to eyes feeling dry and uncomfortable. While the effects of eyestrain subside naturally, they can be immensely uncomfortable and inhibit productivity. Rather than suffering needlessly, people can proactively prevent symptoms by adhering to the following tips:

  • Use anti-glare filters- You can purchase matte films that cover computer screens to minimize glare and reduce the effects of digital eyestrain.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule-Every 20 minutes, focus for 20 seconds on an object 20 feet away. This technique will relieve your eyes from focusing on your brightly lit, close computer. Remember not to use this time to look at your phone.
  • Adjust the brightness levels on your computer-Try altering the brightness of the room or of your screen. Screens that are much brighter than the surrounding room require more work from your eyes. Also available are programs such as f.lux,which can be downloaded and set to dim your computer display at different times of the day.
  • Sit about 25 inches from the screen-If you need to, feel free to increase text size on your computer so you can sit a proper distance away from the screen. A larger font size may also help you maintain better posture and avoid painful neck positions.
  • Be aware of up-close work while at the computer- Any printed material on your desk that you are referring to or anything in your hand, e.g., your phone, that you are using while doing computer work contributes tremendously to your fatigue.
  • Talk to your ophthalmologist-In some cases, finding a treatment for an underlying condition, like dry eye, or adjusting your spectacle prescription, might help ease digital eyestrain.

While electronic usage is a necessity in this modern age, if you make appropriate changes to your work habits, your eyes will thank you. If you want further advice, need to discuss eye treatment options, or are ready to schedule an appointment, call us at (518) 475-1515. Our team at Cornea Consultants of Albany is happy to answer any questions you may have about digital eyestrain, vision, and overall eye health.

Dr. Robert Schultze
Dr. Robert Schultze
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Schultze received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in 1994, where he was distinguished with the Lamport Biomedical Research Award. Upon completion of ophthalmology residency at Albany Medical College in 1998, Dr. Schultze elected to further his education with one additional year of specialty fellowship training in Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery at the Albany Medical College. Dr. Schultze has been appointed Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Cornea, Cataract, and Refractive Surgery at the Albany Medical Center Department of Ophthalmology where he teaches medical students, residents, and fellows the latest diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. He also serves as Ophthalmology Residency Program Director, Director of Medical Student Education in Ophthalmology, and Director of the Cornea Fellowship Program. Dr. Schultze is Medical Director and a founding partner of his medical practice, Cornea Consultants of Albany. He also serves as Medical Director of TLC Laser Eye Center as well as the Lions Eye Bank at Albany and has served on the Northeastern Association for the Blind at Albany’s Board of Directors.

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