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Digital Eye Strain and what you can do to deal with it

By Eye Consultants, Dubai, UAE


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Eye Consultants
Dubai, UAE


March 03, 2020

If there was ever an award nomination for ‘the one aspect that dominates the lives of most people today,’ the winning prize would undoubtedly go to screens. Whether you want to unwind with a movie after a hard day at work or engage in group chat with your friends, the role of a screen as a platform that helps you exchange and consume information cannot be undermined. For most working professionals, staring at a computer screen for 8-9 hours on a daily basis is part of the job description. While we all are aware of the fact that prolonged screen usage can be detrimental to the eyes (a point every parent has made to their children), not much is known about what you can do to avoid digital eye strain.

Our experts at Eye Consultants, Dubai have come up with a 6-step guide on combating digital eye strain.

1. Maintain adequate distance with your screen: According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), one should maintain a minimum distance of 25 inches (Roughly an arm’s length), while using a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile screen. The bigger the screen size, the farther away you should sit. If you are having trouble processing text when maintaining an arm’s distance, you might want to consider scheduling an eye examination, to check your vision.

2. Adjust your computer settings for minimum eye strain: Taking the initiative to adjust the settings on your desktop/laptop, could go a long way in protecting your eyes from digital eye strain. As a thumb rule, the brightness on your device should be equivalent to the brightness of your surroundings. If the brightness on your device is too high, it will give out a harsh glare. On the contrary, a device with low brightness, will only lead to more strain on your eyes. Additionally, if you do a lot of reading, you may want to consider adjusting your screen’s contrast and the font size of the text. Black text on a white background with a readable font size is easy on the eye.

3. Make sure you upgrade your display: While most laptops and computers today are fitted with Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screens, the older versions still have traditional cathode tube displays, which cause greater eye strain. If your system uses a cathode tube display, it is recommended that you upgrade to an LCD screen. Screen resolution also plays an important role in managing digital eye strain. Better resolution means sharper images that are more defined and easy to focus on.

4. Practice the rule of 20/20/20: The rule of 20/20/20 is an important guideline in the handbook of the best eye doctors in Dubai. It simply states that: Every 20 minutes, focus your eyes upon something 20 feet away, for a duration of 20 seconds. This is an exercise that eye doctors have been recommending to people who spend a lot of time in front of screens. The logic behind this exercise is very simple. When you focus on a screen for prolonged periods, you forget to blink. According to the AAO, on an average, a person blinks about 15 times in a minute. This reduces drastically by almost 1/3, when a person is using a screen. Looking away from the screen and making a conscious effort to blink more, reduces eye strain and facilitates better eye lubrication.

5. Take frequent breaks from your devices: Yes, we understand that work is a priority and you cannot spend hours away from your desk. However, taking frequent, short breaks can do wonders for your eye health and may even help you focus better at work. You may even be able to get rid of that headache you get from staring at your screen for too long.

6. Avoid using your contact lenses during prolonged usage of screens: Multiple studies seem to suggest that the effects of dry eyes and eye irritation seem to accelerate in people who wear contact lenses while working on computer screens. If you spend hours on a computer and wear contact lenses, you may want to consider replacing them with eyeglasses instead.

Following these few easy tips could greatly reduce the impact of digital eye strain. However, if you experience symptoms of blurred vision, constant headaches, seeing spots and halos, we recommend that you visit a qualified eye care professional at the earliest. Our team at Eye Consultants have great expertise in determining and dealing with digital eye strain. 

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