How To Avoid Digital Eye Strain

How To Avoid Digital Eye Strain
Posted on 05/05/2020
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Digital Eye Strain: How to achieve workplace wellness

Do you find yourself in front of a screen now more than ever? Between working remotely from home, binge watching TV shows and video chatting with our loved ones, our electronic devices seem to be the only way to stay connected these days.
Did you know as many as 90% electronic device users experience some form of digital eye strain? The American Optometric Association defines Digital Eye Strain (also called Computer vision syndrome) as a group of eye and vision-related problems that directly result from prolonged computer, tablet, and cell phone use. The symptoms tend to worsen with the amount of digital screen use.

Symptoms include:

  • Frontal headaches
  • Migraines
  • Ocular migraine
  • Tearing, burning and redness from dry eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye strain
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Sleep disturbances

Basic steps to help reduce strain:

1. Practice the 20/20/20 rule
This is an easy way to remind yourself to take frequent breaks while working on a screen.
For every 20 minutes on a screen look away for 20 seconds or longer at a target at least 20 feet away.

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2. Blink more frequently

When looking at a screen our blink rate decreases significantly resulting in eye dryness. Blinking helps keep the surface of our eyes lubricated. Practice forceful blinking every hour.

3. Adjust screen distance, brightness and ambient light levels
Keep your screen distance at least an arm length away from you (about 25 inches). When working on a screen, ambient light should match the brightness of the screen. Adjust levels to your comfort accordingly. The lower the better!

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Source: American Optometric Association

4. Wear blue light filtering glasses
Prolonged exposure to artificial blue light not only contributes to glare and eye strain, it can also disrupt our sleep cycle. For more information on how to block blue light visit this blog post on our website: Blue light: Is it worth blocking?

5. Care for dry eyes using warm compresses and artificial tears
Hot compresses are an easy home remedy for dry, tired eyes. It is recommended to apply moist heat to the eyes for at least 10 minutes daily. This therapy works by opening up the oil glands (called meibomian glands) embedded in your eyelids. The oils from these glands play an important role in preventing tear evaporation. We recommend a medical grade reheatable mask called a Bruder Mask. For instant dry eye relief, use brands of artificial tears that include an oil component, such as Refresh Mega-3, Systane Complete or Systane Balance.

6. Get up and walk for 5 minutes every hour
Excess sitting affects our overall health negatively. Studies show that just 5-minute walking breaks can reduce fatigue and improve energy levels as well as mood.

7. Supplements and Nutrition
Lutein & Zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in the retina and they play an important role in absorbing harmful blue light. Lutein & Zeaxanthin exist naturally in plants and can be consumed in our diet or as a supplement. Many studies have shown that intake of lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce the risk of certain age related eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts

Natural sources include:

  • Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard)
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Summer Squash
  • Egg Yolks

Reputable lutein and zeaxanthin supplements include:

  • MacuHealth with LMZ3 (MacuHealth LLC)
  • EyePromise Zeaxanthin (Zeavision)
  • ICaps Eye Vitamin Lutein & Zeaxanthin Formula (Alcon)
  • Macula Complete (Biosyntrx)
  • MacularProtect Complete (ScienceBased Health)
  • MaxiVision Ocular Formula (MedOp)
  • OcuGuard Plus (TwinLab)
  • Ocuvite (Bausch + Lomb)

Resources:
Bergouignan, A., Legget, K.T., De Jong, N. et al. (2016) Effect of frequent interruptions of prolonged sitting on self-perceived levels of energy, mood, food cravings and cognitive function. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 13, 113.
Chew, E. Y., et al. (2012) The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2): study design and baseline characteristics (AREDS2 report number 1), Ophthalmology 119, 2282–2289.
Chew, E. Y., et al. (2013) Lutein/zeaxanthin for the treatment of age-related cataract: AREDS2 randomized trial report no. 4, JAMA Ophthalmol 131, 843–850.
Colesā€Brennan, C., Sulley, A. and Young, G. (2019), Management of digital eye strain. Clin Exp Optom, 102: 18-29.
Gowrisankaran S, Sheedy JE. (2015) Computer vision syndrome: a review. Work; 52: 303– 314.

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