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How Long Does Digital Eye Strain Last?

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A young woman taking off her glasses and rubbing her eyes due to eye strain from working on her laptop

Do you notice your eyes feel tired or sore after spending time on your computer? It could be digital eye strain.

As computer and digital device use become more prevalent in our daily lives, digital eye strain is on the rise. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to avoid using a digital screen, so what is there to do when your eyes are affected?

If you have symptoms of digital eye strain, book an appointment with your optometrist. They can give you tips on how to protect your eyes and vision when using a screen. Until then, keep reading this blog to learn more about digital eye strain, how long it lasts, and what you can do at home to prevent digital eye strain symptoms. 

What is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome, is a group of eye and vision problems. When you look at a computer, your eyes are forced to work harder to maintain a clear image. In addition to this, we tend to blink less than normal when viewing a screen. Together, these issues can result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including: 

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Dry eye
  • Eye discomfort
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye itching
  • Eye redness
  • Eye tearing
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

While most of these symptoms are usually temporary, they can be made worse depending on how long you spend using a computer and if you have underlying vision problems. 

What Underlying Conditions Can Make My Eye Strain Worse?

If you have frequent and long-lasting digital eye strain symptoms, it may be a sign that there’s another eye condition to blame. 

Some of the other conditions that can be aggravated by too much time spent looking at a screen include:

Can Digital Eye Strain Damage Your Eyes? 

While there isn’t much research available on the long-term effects of digital eye strain, there’s no reason to believe that eye strain will damage your vision.

Although digital eye strain may not affect your vision long-term, it’s important to be aware that exposure to blue light and extended screen time may still be harmful to your eye health, especially if your symptoms go untreated. 

How Long Can Digital Eye Strain Last?

The symptoms of digital eye strain are often temporary, and typically go away within an hour of your last exposure to a digital screen. 

If your eye strain comes with other symptoms, such as a headache, dry eyes, or neck and shoulder pain, it could take longer than an hour for all of your symptoms to go away. If you have constant eye strain, or you have symptoms that are lasting more than a day, it’s best to see your optometrist for an eye exam. Prolonged symptoms could be a sign of an underlying eye condition. 

A woman looking at her cell phone screen in the dark

Preventing Digital Eye Strain

You don’t have to live with the effects of digital eye strain. To help reduce the risk of digital eye strain, consider the following tips:

  • Position your screen about an arm’s length from your eyes and about 20 degrees below your viewing level 
  • Match your screen with your surroundings by adjusting the colour, contrast tones, and brightness levels in your computer settings
  • Reduce screen glare by dimming the lights in your room, facing your screen away from bright light, using a protective screen cover, or wearing anti-glare glasses
  • Keep your screen clean to improve your visual clarity 
  • Keep your screen at the same distance as any other objects you’re viewing at the same time 
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule which recommends that you take a 20 second break to focus on something 20 feet away every 20 minutes
  • Remember to blink often 

Reduce Digital Eye Strain with Your Optometrists Help

To ensure your eyes stay comfortable and healthy while using a digital screen, visit your optometrist for an eye exam. Let your optometrist know you may be suffering from digital eye strain before you appointment and be prepared to answer the following questions: 

  • How many hours a day do you use a computer?
  • How far away do you view your digital devices?
  • What is your setup when using a digital device? 

You Can Rely on Us 

Do you need help finding relief from digital eye strain? Book an appointment with us at Total Focus Optometry Centre. Our team is always here to help you.

Written by Dr. Craig M

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