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How to cure digital eye strain - causes, prevention & treatment

Can you resist netflixing after 8 hours of constantly staring at your laptop at work?

Your resolution to reduce screen timing breaks in a blink of an eye when you see the ad for your favourite series’s new season popping up on your screen. 

After a tiring day at the office,  you might find that series refreshing, but have you ever thought about how much harm that could do to your eyes? For the uninitiated, the blue light from your laptop and phone can lead to many eye problems like dry eyes, eye strain, blurry vision, cataracts, and macular degradation. 

If this sounds intimidating, read this article to know how to cure digital eye strain, as prevention is not a cup of tea for many of us. Especially after the pandemic,  our screen timing had increased from 3.7 hours per day in 2019 to 4.5 hours per day in 2020. Incidentally, Indians are spending one-third of their waking hours on mobile phones in 2021. 

What is digital eye strain?

Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain is a set of eye problems that a person suffers due to too much screen time. Your eyes may feel tired or discomfort. They can be itchy teary or dry and red. 

One study has found that using an electronic reader, a mobile electronic device specially designed to read e-books, is a pertinent cause of eye strain. 

What causes it?

Overuse of computers and other digital devices is the cause of digital eye strain. Poor light, screen glare, viewing the screen from a close distance and wrong angle, and uncorrected vision problems are some of the main causes of it. 


Let’s learn about the causes in detail.

Exposure to blue light

All digital screens emit blue light. This blue light affects the circadian rhythm, physical, mental and behavioural that follow a 24-hour cycle or your natural sleep and wake cycle.

During the daytime, this blue light stimulates you and wakes you up. But too much exposure to it late at night overstimulates you and makes it harder for you to sleep. 

As per experts, you should avoid any kind of screen timing 2 or 3 hours before going to the bed.

Blue light aggravates macular degradation. The macula is the round area at the ceter of your retina at the back of your eyeball and it processes what you see directly in front of you.

Screen glare

When the light bounces off your digital device screen and enters your eyes it is called screen glare. Glare from the screen is one of the main reasons behind eye fatigue.

Dry eye

Normally, you blink your eyes 15-20 times and this spreads tears evenly in your eyes, and a lubricant called rhodopsin is released. Thus, blinking keeps your eyes moist and refreshed. It prevents your eyes from getting dry and irritated. But while watching or working on any digital screen you blink less than half. This prevents rhodopsin from releasing making your eyes dry. 

Wrong posture

If you sit in a slumped or haunched posture, the connection quality between your brain and spinal cord may get affected. This creates a lag between your eyes seeing an object and your brain’s capacity to interpret the image of that object.

In fact, poor or wrong posture is one of the main reasons behind the blurred vision.

Not using screen-friendly eyewear

If you feel discomfort in your eyes due to too much screen timing, you should consult a doctor and ask if you may feel comfortable using glare-free glasses. If needed, your doctor might also recommend coated or tired glasses to reduce the strain. 

People with vision problems often wear glasses while using digital devices.  

What are the symptoms of eye strain?
Gadget Tired Digital Eye Dry Eye syndrome

If you know what are the symptoms of digital eye strain, it would be easier for you to find a cure for your strained eyes. Hence, these are some symptoms that will tell you that you are suffering from it:

  • Dry eye
  • Eye itching
  • Eye redness
  • Teary eyes
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye discomfort
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • problem s while focusing between near and far distances
  • Light sensitivity

Children spent more time than ever staring at a digital screen during the pandemic. Apart from the symptoms mentioned already, children have other symptoms like

  • Irritability
  • Reduced attention span
  • Poor behavior

And all of these symptoms together hinder their learning process.

Though these symptoms can be cured digital eyes strain can lead to other complex physical health problems like chronic neck pain, sleeplessness, and migraines.


Other complex physical health problems caused by eye strain

Several eye problems are indirectly connected to your back and neck. Binocular vision dysfunction, hypermetropia, and presbyopia are such eye problems. 

A study has found that blue light affects your sleep cycle. It has been pointed out that blue light disrupts your body’s natural ability to prepare for sleep since it blocks melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleep.

Migraine is a type of headache that causes severe throbbing and numbing pain in both sides of your head. 

Eye strain from digital devices can lead to migraines, as lights flickering and glaring usually trigger it. It can also cause ocular migraine, an eye condition that causes brief attacks of blindness or visual problems like flashing lights and wavy lines in your vision. 

A 2015 study confirmed the link between excessive screen timing and migraine in young adults.  It studied 4927 participants who used computers, smartphones, tablets, and televisions. The participants who were watching screens for more than 2 hours complained more about migraine episodes.


How do prevent eye strain from digital devices

Dry eye syndrome digital gadget tired eye

In today’s post-pandemic era, it is not possible to completely avoid the screen. Kids need them to do their school work apart from watching their favourite shows and playing the latest game. And without switching on the screen you cannot complete those important office presentations and a host of other office work. 

Fortunately, if you know these precautionary measures and follow them religiously, you can easily prevent digital eye strain. Keep reading to learn more.


  • 20-20-20 rule

  • While watching any screen you need to take a break. Look away from screen time to time while working or watching something for entertainment. 

    The American Optometric Association ( AOA )has recommended a simple eye exercise to prevent strain. It is called the 20-20-20 rule. As per this rule, you need to take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at something which is 20 feet away from you.

  • Follow this simple exercise

  • There are a bunch of exercises that can give relief to your eyes from strain. Consider these whenever you feel your eyes are tired:

  • Blinking

  • If you cannot avoid long hours on a computer screen, you must try this. Apart from keeping your eyes’ moisture levels intact, blinking keeps you focused for long hours and refreshes your eyes. 

  • Near Far Focus

  • You can do this exercise while sitting or standing. Put your thumb t10 inches away from your face. Now focus on it. Then focus on an object which is 10 feet away from you. Do this near-far focusing for at least 3 minutes. This exercise will strengthen your eye muscle. 

  • Zooming

  • In this exercise, you need to stretch your arms while raising your thumb like a hitchhiker. Now focus on your thumb and bring it near your face, keep it 3 inches away. Keep the focus on your thumb and slowly stretch your arms to the previous position. Do this several times for 2 minutes.

  • Palming

  • To do this exercise, sit on a sofa and place your palms covering your eyes. Fingers should be on your forehead and the base of the palm should be resting on the cheekbones. Make sure you can blink your eyes freely. Continue doing it for 2 minutes. This exercise will give relief to your eyes. 

  • Imagining figure  8

  • Stare at a wall 10 feet away from you and imagine the figure 8 tilted on its side. Trace this path of 8 without moving your head now. Continue doing so for a minute then reverse way for another minute. This exercise too strengthens your eye muscles.

  • Flexing

  • Keep your face forward and look ahead. Look up and down without moving your head. Continue doing this 10 times. Next, look right to left without moving your head 10 times. This is the best exercise for your occular muscles. 

  • Rolling the  eyes

  • This yogic exercise is also known as “ rotational viewing”. Roll your eyes gently in one direction then back again. Do this 3-5 times every hour. This will help release tension in your eye muscle and give relief from eye strain.


  • Make sure to keep a check on your kids’ screen timing:

  • As per the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP),  for 2 to 5-year-old kids, you should limit the non-educational screen timing to 1 hour per weekday and 3 hours on weekends.

    For 6 years and above, you need to encourage healthy habits and reduce activities that include screen timing.

     Try to turn off all screens during family meals and outings. Try to avoid using screens as pacifiers, or to stop tantrums. Avoid allowing them to watch the screen 30-60 minutes before their bedtime.


  • Adjust the blue light

  • This is for those who watch series’ and other programmes on their phone when the entire house is submerged in dark. Use your screen’s night shift setting or the dark mode. These settings have a warmer tone and emit minimal blue light.

    You can get a blue light filter screen that reduces the light by 30-60%. But it is always better to avoid screens before going to the bed.

  • Check  your office room’s brightness

  • This may sound strange but when you are working on a computer, it is better to have less light. You can close your curtains and reduce the use of fluorescent lights to ensure that the room is not too bright.

  • Reduce screen glare

  • Glare from the screen is one of the main causes of eye strain since it stops your eyes from adjusting naturally to the content you are focusing on. 

    Hence, you can use an anti-glare matte screen filter. You will find them for all types of phones, computers, and tablets. If you wear glasses, make sure your lenses have an anti-reflective coat.

  • Check the screen distance

  • You should sit 20-30 inches away from your computer monitor and position the top of your screen at eye level. It will not only prevent eye strain but save your neck from getting strained. 


  • Get your eyes checked regularly

  • Get your eyes examed regularly. Since you may need to change your glasses from time to time if you work on the computer for long hours.

    How to treat eye strain from digital devices

    Digital eye strain can be easily treated at home. Generally, you need to consider some lifestyle changes to do so. But some people may need treatment for an underlying eye condition. 

    Some people can wear glasses that have been prescribed by a doctor, especially those who work for long hours on the computer, to lower the strain caused by digital screens.

    Your doctor may also suggest that you take regular breaks to enhance your focus on your work and reduce the strain caused by continuously staring at the screen. 

    Apart from taking preventive measures, you need to include foods in your diet to boost your eye health. Fish, nuts, legumes, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, and carrots are some such food that is excellent for your eyes. 

    Apart from that, adding a supplement with  Zeaxanthin and Lutein in it is always a better idea. These two yellow carotenoid antioxidants are already there in your eyes, especially in your lenses, macula, and retina.  They are found in green leafy vegetables and colourful fruits.

    They play a vital role in keeping your vision healthy. Studies suggest that these two antioxidants protect your eyes from harmful high-energy lights like blue light and ultraviolet waves. They reduce the negative impact of blue light exposure and excessive screen timing.

    What’s more, they also promote better vision. Also, these carotenoids protect your eyes from screen glare. 

    Packed with zeaxanthin and lutein, GoYNG Eye Care supports your connective tissues and hydrates your eyes. This 100% vegetarian, gluten-free, artificial preservative-free eye supplement repairs the damage caused by screens and aging to your eyes. 

    If you aim to boost your eye health, GoYNG Eye Care is the right partner for your mission.

    Conclusion

    Digital screens are an unavoidable part of everyone’s life. You cannot shut yourself in a cave to avoid them. Hence, knowing how to minimise the damage caused by them and maintaining your eye health are the only options available to protect your and your near and dear one's eyes.

    We have tried to cover all possible ways to prevent digital eye strain and manage your eye health in this blog. If you think the tips and tricks have helped boost your eye health, do share with us. 

    If you have some tried and tested ways to maintain eye health that haven’t found their way to this blog, let us know by commenting below. 

    FAQs

    Does digital eye strain go away?

    Though eye strain is annoying, it usually goes away with proper care and precaution. Give rest to your eyes and take precautionary measures and it will automatically go away.


    Is eye damage from the phone irreversible?

    Sometimes blue light from phones and computers can cause irreversible damage to your eyes, a study claims. 

    Can I fix blurry vision after looking at my phone?

    To fix blurry vision, try the 20-20-20 rule. According to this rule, you should give rest to your eyes for 20 seconds every 20 minutes and look 20 feet away at any object. 

    How to treat digital eye strain?

    In case of mild eye strain, the tips recommended above are good enough to treat it. But if you have a severe eye strain, you need to consult a doctor immediately. 

    How long does eye strain last?

    Generally, eye strain doesn’t last for long. But if you have untreated vision conditions they might worsen the strain. Typically, eye strain goes away one hour after your encounter with the screen. And with proper care, it does not harm you severely. 

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