How to Reduce Digital Eye Strain
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
Over the last couple years I have noticed an increase in the amount of patients complaining about their intermediate vision. A recent Nielsen Company audience report shows that adults spend about 10 hours a day absorbing media from different sources.
Whether it's a computer screen, smartphone or other mobile device, we are spending more time in the near to intermediate focal length than we do distance. It’s become so common for people to complain about this that it now has an official diagnosis. Computer Vision Syndrome, aka Digital Eye Strain.
How To Reduce Digital Eye Strain
Thankfully, where there is a problem there is usually a solution. In order to keep our eyes fresh we can follow the simple 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes of looking at something in the near to intermediate range you should spend at least 20 seconds focusing on something at least 20 feet away. This really works. Unfortunately this is usually forgotten in the course of a busy work day or crunch time study session. So what other options do we have? My suggestion is a set of dedicated computer glasses.
I know what you’re thinking, in a time when we have to keep track of a smartphone, car keys, wallet and at least one set of glasses, the last thing one would need is a set of computer glasses. From the perspective of an optician that helps hundreds of people a year, computer glasses are worth it.
In order to provide you with the best information as quickly as possible I’m going to break my suggestions into 3 categories:
Presbyopia is like age related farsightedness. The lens in our eye loses its elasticity and our natural ability to accommodate to near focusing deteriorates to the point where we need reading glasses. Presbyopia usually begins around our early to mid-40's.
Most prescription wearing millennials currently find themselves in this category. Chances are your vision is pretty good for the first few hours of staring at a digital devices but it starts to get a little blurry after 4-5 hours. You may also feel like your eyes are tired and a bit dry.
First I would suggest the 20/20/20 rule because chances are you’re not blinking enough. By not blinking your eyes are getting dry and as a result of that, your vision gets blurry and you’ll have trouble focusing (mentally and visually).
You may not need a change in your prescription but here are a few suggestions:
Self luminous devices are casting light onto your lenses, causing a build up of reflections. Though you may not notice it, subconsciously your mind is working harder to see past those reflections. Think about it this way, having lenses without Anti-Glare is like having a dirty windshield on your car.
It makes a big difference at the end of the day when your vision has been free of impediments like glare.
A light amber tint could also help, but if you only have one set of glasses, having a permanent tint is not something most people want to wear all day. I recently tested out a set of glasses by Gunnar Eyewear and I really enjoyed the comfort of the frame, and the color of the lenses were pleasing to look through.
If you’re reading this section, chances are you already have a prescription for reading glasses. If this is the case, you may need to go back to your doctor in order for them to write a prescription for intermediate (computer) glasses.
Not everyone has their computer monitors at the same distance, so if you wanted an exact focal length I would suggest you measure the distance between yourself and the monitor and ask your eye doctor to write an Rx for that specific distance.
Single vision intermediate glasses are great if you’re just looking at a monitor but if you find yourself needing both intermediate and reading in one set of glasses then you should consider occupational progressives. These are no-line multifocal lenses that will give you intermediate focal length at the top of the lens and near vision at the bottom.
Keep in mind that an intermediate prescription will be blurry at a distance farther than arm’s length. Most of my patients have been fine with sacrificing the quality of their distance vision while they are working since they spend the majority of the time working within a 3-4 foot radius.
Computer Glasses (No Prescription)
Computer glasses can still benefit someone that doesn’t need prescription. I have personally tested a wide variety of non-prescription computer glasses, here are a few of my favorites: (Select an option to watch the review video)
Felix Gray and Gunnar offer lenses with a slight +.25 magnification. This is done to support our eye muscles as they hold our eyes in a slightly converged position as we focus on close objects. They also offer various blue light filter options so you can select the the BPF that rights for you.
Whatever type of visual demand you may have there is something out there that can help reduce the digital eye strain you may be feeling. If you have any questions please feel free to leave it in the comment section below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel (Eye Influence). There you will get better visual examples of the products I review. Have an amazing day!
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any eye condition. If you are having trouble seeing you should consult with your physician.