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Digital Eye Strain and its Causes

What is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a group of eye and vision-related problems that can result from prolonged use of digital screens. Symptoms of digital eye strain may include:

  • Dry, red, or irritated eyes
  • Headache
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty focusing

Originally referred to as “computer vision syndrome,” digital eye strain has been recognized as a legitimate health issue for over two decades. As the use of various electronic devices has become more widespread, the term “digital eye strain” has been adopted to encompass the effects of all types of screens. This condition has become a clear public health issue that can be difficult to identify and treat. As doctors, we often recommend that patients reduce their screen time to alleviate the symptoms of digital eye strain, but this can be a challenging solution to implement.

It can be challenging for many people to reduce their exposure to digital screens, as computers and other electronic devices are often essential tools in the workplace and are used for a wide range of activities, such as watching movies, playing games, reading, shopping, and getting directions. It is not uncommon for people to spend 8 or more hours per day using these devices, and they have become an integral part of daily life for all age groups. It is important to stress the importance of taking breaks from screen use to give the eyes a rest when discussing this issue with patients.

Reducing the risk of digital eye strain

  • Take frequent breaks: Follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  • Adjust your screen: Make sure your screen is at a comfortable distance and angle, and consider using an anti-glare screen to reduce reflections.
  • Blink frequently: Blinking helps to keep your eyes lubricated, so try to blink every few seconds to keep your eyes moist.
  • Use good lighting: Avoid glare and bright lights that may strain your eyes.
  • Use the right corrective lenses: If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure you have the correct prescription and consider getting glasses specifically for computer use.

Causes that contribute to digital eye strain

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of digital eye strain:

  • Prolonged use of electronic screens: The longer you use a digital screen, the greater the risk of developing digital eye strain.
  • Poor screen position: If your screen is not at the correct distance or angle, it can strain your eyes.
  • Glare: Glare from a screen or surrounding lighting can cause eye strain.
  • Incorrect lighting: Poor lighting, either too bright or too dim, can strain your eyes.
  • Dry eyes: Dry eyes can be caused by a variety of factors, including prolonged screen use, and can contribute to digital eye strain.
  • Poor vision: If you have uncorrected vision problems or are wearing the wrong corrective lenses, it can strain your eyes to use digital screens.
  • Blue light: The blue light emitted by electronic screens may contribute to the development of digital eye strain.

Managing Digital Eye Strain

The American Medical Association (AMA) recommends that a comprehensive eye examination be used to diagnose digital eye strain. This should include a consideration of the visual requirements for the distance at which the patient uses their computer or digital device, as well as a review of the patient’s medical history to rule out any general health conditions or medications that may be contributing to their symptoms. Visual acuity measurements, such as refraction to assess the need for corrective lenses, can also be useful in diagnosing digital eye strain. Other tests, such as those that evaluate how the eyes focus, move, and work together, can also be helpful in identifying the condition.

Treatment options for digital eye strain may include the use of corrective lenses and vision therapy, as well as changes to the workspace environment to improve lighting and the position of the computer monitor. Using an anti-glare screen filter and taking breaks to rest the eyes can also be helpful in reducing the risk of digital eye strain. To learn more about this condition and how to prevent it, please schedule a consultation with a healthcare professional.

Fit and Sclerals

Fit is a crucial factor to consider when selecting a scleral lens, as these lenses are specifically designed for individuals with eyes that are difficult to fit for traditional contact lenses or those with irregularly shaped corneas. The large surface area of the scleral lens allows it to compensate for an irregular corneal shape and allows light to pass through easily, providing wider visual coverage, fixed placement, and lasting comfort.

Types of Scleral Contact Lenses

There are two main types of scleral lenses: software-based and impression-based. Software-based scleral lenses, such as the Latitude scleral lens, are designed using computer software to conform precisely to the shape of the sclera. These lenses are ideal for individuals with more severe irregularities or issues that make fitting more challenging, and can provide an exact fit and optimal vision correction. Impression-based scleral lenses, such as the EyePrintPRO lens, are created using an impression of each eye. These lenses are tailored to the unique shape of each individual’s eye, providing an ideal solution for those who have trouble with traditional lenses and other scleral lenses. EyePrintPRO lenses are known for their unmatched comfort.

Scleral Lens Specialists

It’s important to work with an eye care professional who is experienced in fitting scleral lenses to ensure that you receive the most appropriate lens for your specific needs. They will be able to assess your individual requirements and help you determine the best fit for your eyes.

Michigan Contact Lens Specialists

If you’re in need of a specialty contact lens or have been having a hard time getting fitted with soft contact lenses, call MCL today!