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Computer Use and Eye Strain: The Facts You Need to Know

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A man is looking at the computer screen and experienced eye strain

In a 2022 survey, Canadian adults reported spending an average of 3.2 hours staring at a computer or smartphone screen. One of the consequences of so much screen time is computer eye strain.

We created this guide to help you understand the connection between computer use and eye strain. Keep reading to learn about eye strain remedies and symptoms.

Signs of Computer-Related Eye Strain

Staring at a screen all day may not feel like it, but it is a lot of work for your eyes. If you spend a lot of time looking at computers or devices, you may experience the symptoms of computer eye strain:

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye irritation
  • Red eyes
  • Headaches
  • Stiff neck
  • Neck pain
  • Eye twitching

You may experience more significant symptoms if you spend very long periods on the computer or using devices. Symptoms can also worsen if you have a pre-existing visual condition.

A man with eye strain is working on the computer

Risk Factors for Eye Strain from Computers

As we mentioned, having a vision condition or spending extended time using screens may increase the risk of computer-related eye strain. However, these are not the only risk factors.

Lifestyle factors that may increase the risk of computer vision syndrome include not getting enough sleep or sitting with poor posture. These problems can put undue strain on your eyes while you work.

Poor lighting, glares, and improper viewing position can also worsen eye strain symptoms. Ensure you always work with ample natural or artificial lighting and use glare-reduction tools.

When it comes to improper viewing position, you can prevent eye strain symptoms by always keeping your screen at least 20 inches away from your eyes. Also, ensure you are looking down at your screen at a 15° angle.

How to Treat Computer Eye Strain Symptoms

The good news is that most people experience symptoms of computer vision syndrome temporarily. Still, there are some ways to prevent experiencing these symptoms in the first place that you should know about.

One of the most common ways to take care of your eyes and treat eye strain is to take visual breaks. A good rule of thumb is to take a 20-second break for every 20 minutes you spend staring at a screen.

During that 20-second break, exercise your eyes by looking at different objects around the room. You can also spend this break blinking, as research shows that we blink at least 10% less when using screens.

If these strategies don’t work for you, it may be time to visit an optometrist near you. A medical professional can give you more strategies to reduce and even eliminate your symptoms.

Focus West Optometry in Calgary Can Answer All Your Eye Strain Questions

Computer eye strain can happen after too much screen time. It features symptoms like blurred vision, dry eyes, and headaches. Most people can prevent these symptoms by taking frequent breaks and doing visual exercises.

Are you concerned about the long-term effects of too much screen time? A Calgary optometrist can help you understand the potential consequences. Book an appointment at Focus West Optometry in Calgary to learn more.

Written by Focus West Optometry

Welcome to Focus West Optometry! Since our founding in 1997, our team has been proud to serve the Calgary community and provide comprehensive eye care for the whole family. We offer a wide range of eye care services, including addressing dry eyes, an extensive optical boutique, and innovative technology to make your visit as efficient as possible.

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