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5 Tips for Digital Eye Strain

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5 Tips for Digital Eye Strain

4 min read


Today, eye strain due to the excessive use of gadgets is becoming too commonplace, and no age group is spared. This article gives you tips to beat the digital eye strain.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At January 23, 2018
Reviewed AtMarch 12, 2024

What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?

This article is influenced by the modern world. Be it developed or developing countries, there is now easy access to gadgets like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, televisions, desktop computers, and so on. As a direct outcome of this, the incidence of dry eyes is on the rise among the population. What is shocking is it is seen in kids and younger individuals as well. The condition goes by the name of 'computer vision syndrome.'

Many other factors influence the problem of dry eyes like environmental factors, air conditioners, hormonal factors, female sex (related to hormones), chronic medications, any surgery on the eyes, contact lenses, poor hygiene, poor general health systemic diseases, etc. All these are prevalent risk factors for developing dry eyes. But in this article, we will be focussing more on gadgets as a cause of dry eyes.

In this competitive world, classrooms have smartboards, children study on computers, and even homework is given and completed on the computers. As a result, children end up spending prolonged hours in front of a screen. And as if this was not enough, parents hand over their mobile phones to their children in a bid to make them smarter. With the pandemic, computer-based education has become the need of the hour.

Why Should We Worry About Digital Eye Strain?

When we use devices for long hours, our eyes become watery, start feeling tired, may sometimes become red, and there is an increased blinking rate. As a result, the person begins finding it challenging to work continuously and feels tired physically and mentally with increasing severity.

What Causes Digital Eye Strain?

As the name suggests, an essential cause of digital eye strain is using a digital screen daily for a prolonged period.

Some of the factors that can increase the chances of digital eye strain are:

  • Inadequate blinking.

  • Keeping the digital gadgets very close to the eyes.

  • Using digital devices in a poor posture.

  • Persistent exposure to blue light from digital devices.

  • Keeping the brightness of the digital screen either inadequately or in excess brightness.

  • Having problems with vision.

  • Using incorrect prescription glasses.

The following are the other causes of eye strain:

  • Fatigue.

  • Stress.

  • Focusing on specific tasks like reading, driving, etc., for a prolonged time.

  • Staying in a room that is either overbright or very dim.

What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?

The following are the symptoms of digital eye strain:

  • Dryness in the eyes.

  • Eye fatigue.

  • Itchiness in the eyes.

  • Redness in the eyes.

  • Watery eyes.

  • Double vision.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Headache.

  • Shoulder ache.

  • Neck pain.

How to Lessen the Strain on the Eyes When Using Computer Screens?

Dimming the lights near the computer and modifying the screen's contrast and brightness can also assist lessen eye strain. Use eyeglasses. It is no secret that using contact lenses can exacerbate dryness and discomfort. When spending extended amounts of time on a computer, consider using eyeglasses to lessen these signs.

What Is the Duration of Eye Strain?

Generally speaking, eye strain disappears quickly. After the final screen engagement, digital eye strain typically fades away in one hour. It may take a bit longer for the symptoms to go away if one also has headaches, eye irritation, and neck, or shoulder pain.

Is It Possible to Avoid Computer-Induced Headaches?

To lower the possibility of getting a computer-related headache, breaks are also required. Practice the 20-20-20 break. Spend a moment breathing deeply, eating a high-protein snack, and drinking some water.

How to Counteract the Ill Effects Caused by Digital Eye Strain?

The significant precautions to be taken to prevent this syndrome are:

1. Adequate Breaks:

Since a fundamental cause of digital eye strain is persistent exposure to digital devices, taking a break in between can help prevent or reduce it. The following are a few tips to take a break from your strenuous system work:

a. 20-20-20 Rule - Bythis, the person is asked to look at a distant object at a distance of, say, 20 feet for about 20 seconds, every 20 minutes between work. This gives the eyes the needed rest and also enables them to refocus.

b. Non-Screen Tasks - Taking a break implies not shifting to your mobile phones from your desktop work. It means that you should look away from all kinds of digital objects. Try doing some organizing work or paperwork in the meantime.

c. Rest Your Eyes - Continuous usage of digital devices puts pressure on the eyes. Therefore, after every two hours of persistent screen use, give your eyes a break by looking at objects away from your digital screen for at least 20 minutes.

2. Appropriate Posture:

Posture can turn out to be an aggravating factor in terms of digital eye strain. Thus, maintaining a good posture can reduce the chances of getting eye strain.

The below tips should be followed to prevent digital eye strain:

a. The shoulders should be kept in a relaxed position with no forward slouching.

b. Place your computer at a slightly raised position, say about 10 to 20 degrees, so that you do not have to bend or lean forward while working.

c. Sit in an upright position and avoid forward-leaning.

d. Support your spine with the help of a chair by leaning backward.

e. Use chairs that help keep your heels flat on the floor.

3. Limit Screen Glare:

Screen glare increases the eye strain by increasing the need for focusing. Therefore limit screen glare as much as you can.

The following can help limit screen glare:

a. Use dim overhead lights.

b. Close the windows, doors, and curtains.

c. Use low-watt light bulbs.

4. Frequent Blinking:

Dryness of the eyes is an important symptom associated with digital eye strain. This is because staring at a digital screen reduces the usual amount of blinking. The moisture content of the eyes can be retained by blinking the eyes frequently. Therefore, blinking your eyes often can help prevent eye strain.

5. Position the Computer:

Just like your posture, your system's positioning is also essential in preventing digital eye strain. Your system should be placed at a distance of 20 to 28 inches from the eyes. Also, the screen should be placed slightly above eye level, say four to five inches.

6. Use Correct Glasses:

While wearing prescription glasses for any condition, it should be made sure the glasses used are of correct power. Using wrong prescription glasses can also aggravate your digital eye strain.

7. Eye Drops:

When there is visible dryness and itching in your eyes, lubricating eye drops can be used to moisturize your eyes and reduce the symptoms of digital eye strain. Although a few of these eye drops can be availed over-the-counter, getting them after consulting with an ophthalmologist is always advisable.

8. Gently massage your eyes.


Digital eye strain has become one evolving condition that requires adequate preventive measures. Some of the simplest methods can help in reducing the incidence. However, all these measures are helpful only in the early stages of the disease or in preventing it. If you already suffer from severe dry eyes, ensure you consult your ophthalmologist at the earliest to stop its progression.

Frequently Asked Questions


How To Fix the Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain can be fixed by adjusting the screen and room lighting, taking regular breaks, limiting the screen timing, using eye drops or artificial tears to moisten the eyes, improving the quality of surrounding air to keep the eyes from coming in contact with dry air, and choosing the right kind of eyewear.


How To Prevent Eye Strain in ICT?

Several health problems can arise if one uses ICT or information and communication technology such as laptops and mobile phones incorrectly and for too long. These can be prevented by -
- Taking breaks to give rest to the hand.
- Using an ergonomic keyboard (a keyboard that is designed to fit the user).
- Using an ergonomic mouse.
- Arranging the workplace in such a way that it has ample space to work comfortably.


What Causes the Eyes to Strain Fast?

The common causes of eye strain are -
  - Looking at the screens for a long time.
- Not resting the eyes in between reading from the screen.
- Long-distance driving and other activities that involve focussing for a long time.
- Exposure to glare.
- Straining the eyes to see in very dim light conditions.
- Having an eye problem, such as dry eyes or false vision.
- Exposure to dry moving air from fan, heater, or air conditioner.


Can Eye Strain Be Reduced by Blinking

Blinking can often refresh the eyes if one uses a computer for work. People tend to blink less while looking at the screen, which can lead to dry eyes. Blinking helps in producing tears which moistens the eyes and refreshes them. Thus blinking more often while looking at the computer screen can help to reduce eye strain.


Which Monitor Is Best for the Eyes?

The best monitors for eye strain are the ones that are easy on the eyes. Curved monitors are considered to be a good option. Curved monitors allow less distortion, a wide field of view, and better viewing angles to prevent the eyes from tiring out. So, an easy way to curb the harmful effects of staring at the monitor can be reduced by using a curved monitor.


What Are the Ways To Relax Your Eyes After a Long Screen Time?

The ways to relax the eyes after a long screen time include:
- Avoiding dry eyes by blinking often and keeping a desktop humidifier.
- By keeping the monitor about 25 inches away from the eyes.
- By adjusting the brightness.
- By reducing the glare with the help of glass screens or a matte screen filter.
- After every 20 minutes, give your eyes a break by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds.


What Are the Five Tips for Protecting Your Eyes?

The five ways of protecting your eyes are -
- Getting regular eye check-ups.
- Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet exposure.
- Wearing protective eyewear if you are playing sports or doing any other activity.
- Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Reducing screen time.


How Long Does Digital Eye Strain Last?

Digital eye strain is often temporary. It goes away within an hour of your screen exposure. However, if the eye strain occurs along with other symptoms such as headache, dry eyes, or neck and shoulder pain, it could take longer than one hour for all the symptoms to go away. In case of persistent eye strain, or symptoms that last more than a day, it is best to consult an ophthalmologist.


What Are the Symptoms of Eye Strain?

The various symptoms of eye strain include -
- Sore, tired, burning, or itchy eyes.
- Watery or dry eyes.
- Blurred vision.
- Headache.
- Painful neck, shoulder, or back.
- Photophobia or increased light sensitivity.
- Difficulty in concentration.
- Heaviness in the eyes


How Much Screen Time Is Good for the Eyes in a Day?

The American optometric association suggests the 20/20/20 rule. This means looking away from the screen every 20 minutes and focusing on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Young people and kids should take a 10-minute break from their screens every hour. The amount of screen time that is healthy for the eyes also depends upon the individual's age.


What Exercises Help With Eye Strain Due to Overuse of Phone?

While sitting, hold a finger a few inches away from the eyes, and focus on the finger. Slowly move the finger away from the face to a distance keeping the focus intact. Bring the finger back slowly towards the eye. See somewhere else and focus on a distant thing. Repeat it three times.
Focus on an object about 10 feet in front of you, trace an imaginary figure of eight with your eyes, keep tracing for 30 seconds, then change directions.Follow the 20/20/20 rule.


What Should I Do After Continuously Staring at a Screen?

After continuously staring at the screen, we tend to forget to blink. This causes dry eyes. It would be best if you keep blinking more often to keep the eyes from getting dry. Blinking increases the production of tears which moistens the eyes. Certain eye drops can also keep the eyes from getting dry.
- Take regular breaks.
- Follow the 20/20/20 rule.


What Are the Ways To Reduce Screen Time?

The ways to reduce screen time include:
- Keeping track of the screen time.
- Take regular breaks.
- Move away from the screen and do some stretching.
- Stand up, sit less.
- Keep screens out of the bedroom.
- Take up a new hobby.
- Switch to grayscale.


Is Eye Strain a Permanent Condition?

Eye strain is a very common when the eyes get tired from overuse. But it is not a serious condition. It tends to recede after an hour once you rest your eyes. In some instances, the symptoms of eyestrain can indicate an underlying eye disorder that might require treatment. Though eye strain is an unpleasant condition, it does not cause any permanent damage to the eyes.


Can I Use Warm Water for My Eyes?

- A warm water eye compress can be helpful in various ways
- Adds moisture to the eyes.
- It prevents the oil glands in the eyelids from clogging their lids.
- It is a pain reliever for any eye infection, such as conjunctivitis.
- It relaxes the eye muscles due to overstaining.
Dr. Shikha Gupta
Dr. Shikha Gupta

Ophthalmology (Eye Care)


dry eye syndromeeye straindry eyescomputer vision syndrome
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