Doctor Shares Tips to Reduce Digital Eye Strain
Eye strain caused from screen time on computers and other electronic devices is a credible concern, shares Doctor of Optometry Dallas Wilkinson with Vision Source of Hot Springs. He explains that eye strain is caused by overuse of the focusing muscle inside the eye.
“This muscle contracts to reshape the lens and change the focus of the eye to near,” he says. “Like any muscle it can’t stay contracted for long periods of time without fatigue and eventually locking up. No other muscle in our body works this hard!”
Symptoms of Eye Strain
Symptoms of eye strain may include eye fatigue, headache behind or around the eyes, loss of concentration, a decrease in blinking (leading to dry eyes) and blurring of vision because the muscle can’t contract when focusing up close or relax at distance.
What can help? Wilkinson says a prescription lens with a blue blocking treatment may be beneficial to help relax the eyes.
Special Lenses Can Help
These special lenses work similar to progressive lenses in that they can have multiple prescription levels. They have one level to help focus your eyes at a distance of 20-26 inches, which is considered the intermediate zone. This is helpful for relieving the eye muscle from much of the work while looking at a screen.
Additionally, a blue blocking filter can be added to any lens. The filter reduces the glare from screens and blocks out blue light which can cause eye strain and affect sleep patterns.
Follow 20-20-20 Rule
Most importantly, Wilkinson suggests electronics users follow the 20-20-20 Rule. This means take breaks after every 20 minutes of screen time by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Looking away at something in the distance allows the eye muscle to completely relax for a few seconds before returning to the screen.