Beat screen fatigue

26th August 2019

Digital screens

Many of us are spending much more time in front of a digital screen which can lead to eye strain and trigger episodes of screen fatigue.  Focussing on a computer screen for long periods without breaks can very quickly become uncomfortable particularly if we have uncorrected vision such as long-sightedness or astigmatism.

How do I know if I have digital eye strain?

You may experience tired, sore dry eyes, blurred vision, impaired colour perception or headaches when working at the computer.  These symptoms of discomfort can have a direct influence on the quality of work carried out.

Why does digital eye strain happen?

Looking at a screen for a long time without a break requires effort from your eye muscles and they become tired after a prolonged period of time.  With uncorrected vision, your eyes have to make more of an effort to obtain a clear image on screen.

Even people with good vision can suffer with digital eye strain as we tend to blink less when staring at a screen which can dry out our eyes which can cause blurred vision and discomfort.

What can I do to help reduce the effect of screen fatigue?

Below are just a few recommendations to help you minimise the effect of digital eye strain.

  • It is important to give our eyes a rest from screen use. Respect the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Blink more often. We blink on average 12 times a minute but only 5 times a minute when in front of a screen. Blinking less can make our eyes drier especially if wearing contact lenses.  Using eye drops may also help relieve the discomfort.  Consult your Optometrist for advice on the best drops for your eyes.
  • Optimise your work conditions by ensuring your computer screen is clean, dust free and reflection free. Adjust the height of the screen so that it is appropriate for your working environment, not too high nor too low.

If you notice any of the symptoms of digital eye screen, see your Optometrist for an eye examination.

You may need your vision corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses or you may need specific spectacles for VDU use.

  • We have a range of different specialist spectacle lenses designed primarily for VDU use with areas for reading and distance depending on your working environment.
  • Ask for an anti-reflection coating to be added to your spectacle lenses if you wear glasses.
  • Before your eye appointment, note down the distance you sit away from your computer screen and bring in these measurements to your appointment. The Optometrist can use these measurements in working out the optimal lens for the distance and field of vision particular to your needs. The size of your screen or the number of screens you use at your desk is also an important consideration in determining how best to help you see comfortably and clearly.
  • If you work at a VDU screen at work, ask your employer to provide and pay for an eyesight test. An employer must provide an eyesight test for a VDU user if the employee requests one, however employers only have to pay for spectacles if special ones are needed for VDU use. More information can be found at https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/2765/Working-with-VDUs—HSE-leaflet/pdf/hse_vdu.pdf

If you need any further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Regards

The Gordon Turner Optometrists Team