Technological advances witness the increase on the time we spend in front of digital screens. According to a study in 2019 by Hootsuite, a leading social media management agency, a majority of UAE residents spent an average of 4 hours screen time per day. This statistics looks daunting. To make it worse, restrictions due to Corona pandemic has advocated the lifestyle of work and study at home, which inevitably increased the screen time.
When work, school and social life moved almost entirely online, it can contribute largely to Digital Eye Strain (DES), a series of vision-related problems that result from staring digital screens for long periods of time.
DES affects severely people of all ages. After hours spent on digital devices, you are most likely to notice blurred vision, irritating itch and fatigue, and unwelcoming dryness.
However, the current climate of our digital technology is unavoidable. To understand the symptoms and preventative measures for DES, it can help reduce or even alleviate the possibility of developing into related ailments.
Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain
There are two types of symptoms generated by DES. The one is associated with reduced blinking and dryness; and the other is related to improper lenses focus.
Reduced blinking and dryness can cause irritation, burning sensations, eye strain, and even headaches. In the meantime, inaccurate lenses focus would result in eye fatigue, light sensitivity and blurred vision at the near and far distances.
These symptoms could be triggered by poor lighting, glare, and improper view distances.
Diagnosis of DES
DES can be diagnosed through a comprehensive vision testing.
With emphasis on screen time required and working distance, the testing may mainly include an assessment of patient history, visual acuity, and refraction test to obtain the accurate lenses power required to compensate for any refractive correction.
Treatment of DES
There are varied solutions to digital-related vision problems. They could usually be diminished or even alleviated by keeping regular eye care and changing the way and time duration of viewing a digital screen.
In some cases, some people don’t require optical glasses for the other daily activities. They might benefit from the glasses prescribed specifically for digital screen use, such as avoiding the harmful blue light emitted from the screens. Moreover, for those who already wear glasses, a fine-tuning in the prescription is necessary to battle against the digital screen-related complications. In these cases, we advise them to invest in a professional lenses that help maximize visibility and don’t compromise comfort at the same time.
In addition, eye refreshment and lubrication are essential to alleviate the chances of developing DES. Increasing the time of blinking, utilizing artificial tears or a humidifier etc, can help maintain optimal eye moisture.
Furthermore, it would be beneficial to adjust the screen brightness and light contrast to a comfortable setting, reduce glare and maintain an arm’s length away from your screen.
Last but not the least, it’s highly recommended to follow the 20-20-20 rule, which advises digital screen users to take a 20-second break to view the things 20 feet away every 20 minutes in the middle of using a digital screen.