Is too much screen time damaging your eyes?

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 17-Jun-2015

Is too much screen time damaging your eyes?We live in a world that is driven by technology, and that technology improves our lives in many ways. But spending too much time in front of the screen—whether that’s a computer screen, tablet, or phone—could be hurting your eyes.

It’s a condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome, and while it won’t permanently damage your eyes, it can cause serious eyestrain, which may be exacerbated by existing eye conditions.

Eyestrain occurs when your eyes don’t receive the proper time to rest. It is often the result of one of two causes: glare and/or position of the screen. The glare from any technological screen (TV, computer, tablet, phone) is hard on your eyes and can lead to eye muscle fatigue or difficulty seeing what’s on the screen. The position of the screen is also important to prevent your eyes from having to work too hard to view the screen. When you’re working on a computer, the top of the screen should never be higher than eye level.

If you suffer from Computer Vision Syndrome, you may experience some of these symptoms:

  • Dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Changes in color perception
  • Eye discomfort, burning or itching
  • Headaches

These symptoms may vary based on the amount time you spend looking at digital screens and other vision problems you may have. Astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness and presbyopia may contribute to development of Computer Vision Syndrome. While symptoms are often temporary, you may experience recurring or worsening vision problems if they go untreated.

Treatment for Computer Vision Syndrome

If you spend more than a few minutes each day looking at a computer screen, the TV or a mobile device, here are a few things you can do to help prevent eyestrain or computer vision syndrome.

  • Follow the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a computer screen, shift your gaze away from the screen and focus on something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Properly position the screen. Keep your computer screen at least 25 inches from your face, and position it so you are looking slightly downward at the screen. Your screen should also be tilted so that the top is slightly farther away than the bottom.
  • Adjust brightness/contrast. The brightness/contrast settings on your screen should be such that you do not have to strain to see clearly.
  • Blink frequently. Blinking helps keep your eyes moist, which can prevent dry eyes. Artificial tears can also be used to refresh your eyes when they are dry or irritated.
  • Eliminate glare. Use a screen filter to reduce glare on the screen.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep can worsen computer-related eyestrain. If you spend all day working or studying on the computer, take regular breaks or power naps to rest your eyes.
  • Listen to your eyes. Pay attention to how your eyes feel. If your eyes are tired or sore, it is time to take a break. A warm, damp washcloth applied to closed eyes can help alleviate eye soreness.
  • Wear your glasses. If you wear contact lenses, try to wear your eyeglasses instead of contacts when working on the computer for long periods of time.

Treatment for Computer Vision Problems may also include special prescription lenses designated for computer use or vision therapy, also known as vision training, to treat problems with focus or eye coordination.

If you develop any problems with your eyes, such as red eyes, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, eye swelling or discharge, contact Key-Whitman to schedule an eye exam.

Categories: Eye Health
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