See how using computers, hand-held devices and watching TV affects your eyes.
Nov 11, 2015
How often do you use a computer in your day-to-day life? How often do you watch television? If you have a mobile device such as a phone or tablet, how often do you use it on a daily basis? Nearly everything we do today revolves around some type of technology - all of which can be burdensome on our vision. If not properly managed, routine use of these everyday conveniences can lead to tired, irritated and dry eyes.
When looking at screens such as those on our televisions, computers, and mobile devices, we tend to squint and stare, forgetting to blink as often as we should; causing dryness in our eyes. Dry eye symptoms can occur for a variety of reasons such as reduced blinking or staring, medication, environmental factors, health conditions, or sometimes from contact lenses (if you wear them). Symptoms of dry eye can include dryness, irritation, scratchiness, burning/stinging, blurry vision and excessive tearing.4, 6
Although there is no cure for dry eye, the following tips may help you feel more comfortable while using your technology every day:
Protect your eyes - blink!
Every time we blink, we are cleaning the ocular surface of debris and also flushing fresh tears over the surface, keeping them moist.3 Blinking brings nutrients to the eyes and helps keep them healthy.3 It also helps prevent infection and keeps our vision at its best. Studies show the normal frequency for blinking is 7-10 bpm (blinks per minute).3
Remember this when you are checking your email, watching television, playing video games or any other similar activities. That's why you should follow the 20-20-20 rule: To help combat these issues, simply rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.1,2,5
Give your eyes a break.
Sitting too close to a computer monitor or holding a digital device too close to your eyes can have a similar effect and reduces your blinking. Staring at your computer or other digital devices can cause major strain on your eyes and can also cause dry eye symptoms, blurry vision, and headaches.2 If you are feeling strained while on these devices, increasing the font size could be beneficial. Taking reading breaks when working at a computer can help combat dry eye symptoms and give your eyes a much-need rest. To ease the feeling of tired, irritated or dry eyes, use a warm compress once or twice a day for relief as needed.
See your eye care professional regularly.
You may not realize it, but daily screen viewing time could be a cause of eye strain that potentially leads other eye health issues. If you find yourself sitting close or leaning in while on the computer or watching TV, having headaches, or if your eyes feel dry and gritty, you could be developing eye health problems that shouldn't be ignored. If taking breaks and blinking doesn't seem to help solve or relieve your eye strain symptoms, it's time to visit your eye care professional to understand whether you could be developing a more serious eye condition.