Healthy Eye Habits for Computer Users

Digital Eye Strain Is Affecting Many American Workers

It’s no secret that looking at a computer screen for an extended period of time can lead to eye strain. If you’re like most Americans, you’ve experienced digital eye strain at one time or another. In fact, studies show that the average U.S. worker spends about seven hours a day on the computer, whether working from home or in the office. The American Optometric Association (AOA) 2016 American Eye-Q survey found that 58 percent of U.S. adults in the workforce have felt the effects of digital eye strain or vision problems as a direct result of this extended screen time.

What Causes Digital Eye Strain?

man looking at laptop in low light

Digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome (CVS), relates to one simple cause: doing one thing, like focusing up close on a screen, for a long and uninterrupted period of time on a regular basis. Just like the other muscles in your body, when your eyes are held in one position too long, they get stiff and tired. This causes them to feel strained, fatigued, and sore.

Some common symptoms of digital eye strain are sore and tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and dry eyes. Factors that can contribute to the development of digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome, or even worsen the symptoms, are environmental causes like poor lighting in the computer work area, viewing the screen from the wrong distance (too close or too far), and glare on the screen. If you are already dealing with one or more other common vision conditions, like farsightedness or astigmatism, these may make your vision symptoms even worse when working at a digital screen.

The Difference Between Screen Time and Reading a Printed Page

While reading a book for a long period of time, especially in dim light, may make your eyes tired, you may have noticed that they become tired more quickly at a computer. Why is this?

It has to do with the differences in how your eyes work when reading a digital screen versus a printed page. Viewing a digital screen causes your eyes to do more work. This is because all images on a computer screen, including the text you read and type, are made up of pixels —tiny digital dots. The pixels that make up these images and letters force your eyes to continually refocus to interpret the information displayed on the screen. In contrast, your eyes do not have to do this with a printed page, making reading print easier on the eyes.

Even though you don’t feel or notice this continual refocusing, there’s a high likelihood that your eyes are doing this workout thousands of times a day. So now that you know about it, we’ll show you how to give your eyes a break.

Healthy Habits to Relieve Digital Eye Strain

While the digital eye strain experienced by those who work at computers is incredibly common, there is a way to get relief. Some simple and proactive measures can be taken right there at your desk to combat the effects of digital eye strain. And best of all, these steps are easy, quick, and won’t cost you a dime.

We’re talking about eye exercises! At Kugler Vision, we suggest you perform some simple eye exercises on a daily basis for your comfort and eye health, both on and off the job.

Easy Eye Exercises to Try Today

Want to relieve eye strain, but don’t know how to work your eye muscles?

The “Healthy Daily Habits for Computer Users” video below highlights a few simple eye exercises to relieve eye strain from computer use. These exercises will work your eye muscles and help stimulate the vision center of the brain. Click below to watch “Healthy Daily Habits for Computer Users.”

View Video

Additional Questions?

If you exercise your eyes on a daily basis and are still not experiencing the relief you need, please contact our vision experts at 402.558.2211 to schedule a Kugler Vision EyeAnalysisTM to assess your vision health.

Published by

Lance Kugler, MD

Lance Kugler, MD, is a specialist in LASIK and vision correction surgery and CEO of Kugler Vision. A proud Omaha native, he is passionate about improving lives through clear vision. Dr. Kugler serves on several national boards, and his practice is recognized internationally as a center of excellence. Dr. Kugler is one of the original founders of the Refractive Surgery Alliance, an international organization comprised of over 350 of the world’s leading vision correction surgeons; he also served as its first president. In 2019, Dr. Kugler was selected as a TEDx speaker, and delivered a talk in Omaha about the worldwide epidemic of nearsightedness and refractive solutions. Dr. Kugler is an Associate Professor of Refractive Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Truhlsen Eye Institute, has been published in many medical journals, and participates in numerous clinical studies to advance the field of vision correction surgery. Additionally, Dr. Kugler is proud to be a Board Certified Fellow of the World College of Refractive Surgery & Visual Sciences. Dr. Kugler and his wife are proud parents to five active kids. When he has a spare moment, he enjoys skiing, tennis, travel, and fine coffee.

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