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As you read this article, you might be experiencing eye fatigue, blurred vision, headaches, neck pain, or dry eyes — but don’t blame us! These symptoms are actually quite common and are a result of digital eye strain, which not only occurs while sitting at a computer but also as we stare at our seemingly constant companions: smartphones and tablets.
Eye strain from our digital devices affects most of us, as more than four out of five Americans spend time in front of a computer or on their hand-held devices. In fact, if you spend two or more continuous hours in front of a digital screen each day, you are most at risk for a condition known as computer vision syndrome.
Also check out: Ease the Pain of Digital Eye Strain
According to optometrist Dr. Justin Bazan, computer vision syndrome and digital eye strain are caused by holding digital devices too close to the face. It’s estimated that people hold mobile phones two to nine inches closer to their eyes than they hold newspapers, magazines, and books. Combined with the pixilated images appearing on these screens, our eyes are shifting in and out of focus without us even realizing it. Simply put, our eyes are working overtime to maintain focus.
Consider these three easy tips to minimize digital eye strain:
- Observe the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
- Avoid prolonged work on a tablet. Switch to a computer screen that is about 20-28 inches away from your eyes.
- Clean electronic device screens frequently to minimize glare
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Devices themselves can cause eye strain, too. Electronics emit a form of blue light that causes our eyes to refract, making surrounding objects go in and out of focus. To fix this, we overcompensate by squinting.
Talk to your eye doctor about glasses made specifically to minimize digital eye strain and protect against blue light.