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8 Signs You Are Suffering from Digital Eye Strain

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Working man experiencing digital eye strain and dry eye when working on computer at office desk

Whether you work in an office or spend your days studying in high school, university, or college, there is one thing we can all agree on: we need our digital devices.

Smartphones, computers, tablets, and televisions have invaded virtually every aspect of our lives, so it’s not surprising that we can spend up to 10 hours a day in front of our screens. Whether we’re typing up a report for class or relaxing with our favorite sitcom, we rely on our digital devices to be productive and have fun.

However, numerous ongoing studies are taking a deep look at how these devices seem to affect our lives, and one issue many people experience is digital eye strain. But how do you know if you’re struggling with digital eye strain?

Today, we’ll look at the 8 most common signs of digital eye strain so you can get the help you need from LaFerla Family Eyecare. If any of the following symptoms sound familiar to you, be sure to get in touch with us to book your appointment!

#1. Your Eyes Are Constantly Red, Watery, & Irritated

The first sign of digital eye strain is red, watery, and irritated eyes.

These are common eye strain symptoms, but they can be exacerbated by constant digital screen use, poor room lighting, and inadequate posture. You may be able to manage these symptoms by taking regular breaks or using comforting eye drops so you can get back to work.

#2. You Can’t Seem to Focus

Your eyes constantly focus in different ways when you use a digital device. Whether you are looking at a computer or television screen, your eyes have to make many minor adjustments to help you see clearly.

However, if you struggle with digital eye strain, you may find it more difficult to focus. Blurry vision can develop if you spend too much time looking at a digital screen, but they may also occur if you have an uncorrected refractive error or focusing problem

#3. Your Neck, Shoulder, & Back Are Sore

Digital eye strain doesn’t just affect your eye comfort; it can also affect your neck, back, and shoulders.

In most cases, these symptoms occur because of improper sitting posture while you work at your desk. If your device’s screen is too far away or too low, you may hunch yourself over to help you see the screen more clearly, eventually leading to pain.

You can help manage these symptoms by taking regular breaks, but sitting properly at your desk or workstation is often the most effective strategy. When you sit down, remember to:

  • Keep your screen about an arm’s length away and just below eye level.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Support your feet at a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep light sources from causing glare on your screen.
  • Match your screen brightness to the room you’re in. 

#4. Your Eyes Are Twitching

Eye strain can often lead to eye twitching, an annoying symptom that lasts only a few minutes but could occur regularly with constant device use.

If your eyes are twitching too often, you could manage your symptoms by taking a break from your device. However, eye twitching may be a sign of other issues developing, like:

  • Dry eye
  • Too much alcohol or caffeine in your system
  • Too much stress in your life
  • Allergic reactions
  • Nutritional problems

#5. You Struggle With Regular Headaches

Many people can develop a headache after spending too much time in front of a digital device, with the culprit of this symptom often being poor room lighting or high screen brightness. 

If you develop headaches regularly, though, you might have an underlying vision problem like an uncorrected refractive error or an issue with particular visual skills like focusing or depth perception.

Please get in touch with our team if you struggle with headaches regularly, and we can get to work on finding a solution that suits your needs and lifestyle.

#6. Your Eyes Are Sensitive to Light

Light sensitivity is one of the most common symptoms of digital eye strain, and it often occurs alongside other symptoms like headaches, redness, and wateriness.

If you find that your eyes are becoming increasingly sensitive to light, we recommend taking a break from your task. If you’re constantly struggling with light sensitivity, it might be time to book an appointment to determine if there is another issue causing this symptom. Some of these issues can include:

  • Dry eye
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Dilated pupils

You might experience light sensitivity more often if you have light-colored eyes.

#7. You’re Not Blinking Regularly

Your eyes may blink less often when you focus on something for an extended period, like working on a computer or scrolling on your phone.

Blinking is essential for maintaining eye comfort as it helps reinforce your tear film and keep your eyes hydrated. If you don’t blink often enough, your tear film may evaporate faster than normal, leading to irritating eye strain symptoms.

You can help manage this issue by taking breaks and remembering to blink while working.

Women having hard time sleeping at night due to too much usage of phone before sleeping

#8. You have Trouble Sleeping at Night

Lack of sleep may also be a sign of digital eye strain, but how can digital devices affect your sleeping patterns?

It all has to do with a specific wavelength of light called blue light. You might have heard of blue light before and that digital screens emit a small amount of blue light, but what you may not know is that our most significant source of blue light is the sun. Our brains use blue light to help keep us awake and alert, but spending too much time on a blue light-emitting digital device could eventually lead to sleeping problems.

Taking breaks from devices could help manage this issue, but we could also recommend blue light blocking lenses from Eyezen to help mitigate how much blue light your eyes take in. These lenses are also great for children who stay up late at night working on homework or scrolling on their phones, helping them get the rest they need before heading out on their next adventure.

How Can Our Team Help?

Even though we need our digital devices to work, study, and relax, this doesn’t mean we have to live with our digital eye strain symptoms.

If you or a family member is struggling to keep their eyes comfortable while using a phone, computer, or tablet, find out how we can help today by booking an appointment. Our caring, patient-focused approach helps us develop unique strategies for managing eye health, vision quality, and comfort.

Get the help you and your family need today at LaFerla Family Eyecare.

Written by Joni LaFerla

Dr. Joni LaFerla attended optometry school at the University of Missouri – St. Louis college of optometry where she graduated with honors. She then completed a residency in ocular disease and geriatric eye care at the Kansas City VA Medical Center. In 2008, she was elected as the first female President of the Heart of America Contact Lens Society after serving 6 years as the first female on the board of directors. A former collegiate softball pitcher and first baseman, she is a native of Omaha, NE and enjoys spending time with her family, friends and rescue dogs.
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