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Digital Eye Strain and Blue Light

There has been an increase in digital device usage the past decade due to new features of technology and what it has to offer. However, just this year, the percentage of people using digital devices has increased due to an escalation of people working from home and children having school via virtual/distance learning. When constantly staring at a digital device for hours, symptoms may come along with it. The possible symptoms are the following:

  • Tired eyes
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty focusing

What is blue light?

Blue light can be found everywhere. The sun is the main source of blue light, but it can be found in digital screens, fluorescent and LED lighting. Blue light scatters more so than other visible light which makes it more difficult to be focused. Thus, this causes visual noises that reduce contrast and may contribute to eye strain and symptoms.

As one starts to experience these symptoms, it may cause discomfort but there are ways to alleviate them.

1. Taking breaks

There is one rule to remember: 20/20/20 rule. If you are spending a long period of time working on devices, take a break every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds and focus on something that is 20 feet to help relax the eyes.

2. Blue light filter/blocker

An option that can be added onto glasses is a blue-light blocker coating. Digital devices emit out blue light that can cause visual noises and these visual noises could cause the symptoms listed above. With this filter, it decreases blue light from getting to eyes and increases contrast which may decrease symptoms.

3. Adjust the brightness or contrast on the computer screen

The eyes work harder if the screen is brighter. Try matching the brightness of the screen with the level of the room or surroundings to reduce eye strain. Settings may differ based on time and weather.

4. Distance yourself.

Sit about 25 inches or at arm’s length from your screen.

5. Lubricate the eyes

As one stares at a screen, the eyes tend to forget to blink. Normally, the blink rate is at an average of 15 blinks per minute, but this decreases in half when staring at a screen or doing near activities such as reading. With a decrease in blinking, it may lead to dry eyes. Thus, it is important to blink and lubricate the eyes with drops.

digital eye strain

Author: Dr. Ia Ong Her – 11/20

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