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What Everyone Should Know About Digital Eyestrain

a man suffering from digital eye strain headaches looking at his office computer screen

According to Statistics Canada, 94% of Canadians between the ages of 15 and 34 owned a smartphone in 2016. Although some generation gaps persist, internet and computer use are increasingly common in our society.

Along with these changes in how we access information and spend our time come a number of risks that didn’t exist before, including what experts are calling Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). As any optometrist will tell you, considering your eye health is an essential factor in keeping your vision from becoming strained. At Optometrists Clinic Inc. in Edmonton, we like to take the time to educate our patients on what they can do each day to combat problems like CVS or digital eye strain. What is Computer Vision Syndrome? Although there’s nothing inherently damaging about looking at a screen, intently staring at a single object for long periods of time can lead to eyesight strain. If you regularly look at a computer for more than two hours during a single sitting, you may be putting too much stress on your vision. Obviously, computer workers are at risk of CVS but you should also be aware that children who are accustomed to having smartphones are likewise at risk of developing the syndrome. Symptoms of CVS include:

  • Dry or red eyes

  • Blurry vision

  • Headaches

  • Neck or shoulder pain

  • Mistakenly seeing the words on your screen move

How can I avoid Computer Vision Syndrome? Luckily, in most cases, the symptoms of CVS go away after you stop looking at a screen. To decrease your chances of developing Computer Vision Syndrome you can take these easy steps:

  • Read screens in proper lighting. Note that as you get older, you’ll need more light to comfortably read a screen for long periods of time).

  • Remember to blink. It might sound odd but when we concentrate on something we tend to forget to blink so you should consciously do this.

  • Limit the time you spend on your device. If you’re a parent, you should pay attention to how much time your children spends on their phones and teach them safe use practices.

  • Get eye exams regularly. The general recommendation is for individuals to have an eye exam every one to two years, depending on age and the state of their eye health.

  • Use lenses designed for digital use. At the Optometrists’ Clinic, we offer optical devices including spectacle lenses and contact lenses designed specifically for computer screen use. For example, lenses like Zeiss Digital, contact lenses like Biofinity E comfort and even blue protect anti-glare coatings work well in combating digital eye strain.

If you spend lots of time looking at a computer or smartphone, one of the best things you can to do protect your vision is to see an optometrist regularly. Looking at a screen with a pre-existing eye condition or under-corrected eyesight can exacerbate Computer Vision Syndrome. If you haven’t had an eye exam in a while or are concerned about your visual health, fill out a form to contact us at Optometrists Clinic Inc. in Edmonton today.


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