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Living the Digital Life: A Note from your Optometrist

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Optometrists complete comprehensive eye exams checking the health of the full vision system as well as how clearly you see. During the exam they can also discuss your symptoms and lifestyle to determine how blue light and digital devices may be affecting your vision.

Do you experience redness, dryness, blurry vision, headaches..

Do you notice any or all these symptoms by the end of the workday?

Are you one of the over 80% of people who spend 2 or more hours a day on a computer, smart phone or other digital device?

Then it is very likely you are suffering from Digital Eye Strain.

Why your Eye Doctor wants you to know about Digital Eye Strain:

Digital eye strain is a group of eye and vision problems related to computer or digital device use.

Dr. Swatch is an experienced eye doctor treating our patients in Port Credit Mississauga, she explains how digital eye strain happens:

“End of day fatigue and resulting headaches are caused by maintaining prolonged focus on a near object.  Like all muscles, the focusing muscles in your eyes get tired if used continuously.”

To avoid this fatigue, it is recommended that you follow the 20-20-20 rule. Our Optometrist explains more…

“This rule suggests that after every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break by looking at something 20 feet away. This helps to avoid fatigue by relaxing the focusing muscle intermittently.”

Aside from following the 20-20-20 rule, Dr. Swatch also recommends the following tips to her patients to reduce your symptoms and risk of digital eye strain:

  1. Position yourself arm’s length or more from your computer screen

This helps to reduce how hard your eyes must work at focusing and thereby reduces fatigue.

  1. Increase the text size on your screen

Increasing the size of the text allows your eyes focusing muscles to relax and decreases the strain put on them.

  1. Take frequent breaks and keep artificial tears near your workspace for frequent use throughout the day

Studies have shown that when looking at a computer or other digital screen, you don’t blink as much as you normally would. This decrease in blinking results in your eyes drying out and becoming redder; a good way to combat this is to take frequent breaks.

  1. Wear the correct prescription for prolonged periods of screen time

Visiting your optometrist annually for a full comprehensive eye exam helps to ensure your glasses are providing the assistance needed for your eyes to not be strained or tired.

Why your Eye Doctor wants you to know about Blue Light:

Living in our modern world has its risks, optometrists are also concerned about the effects of Blue Light emitted from our digital devices as well as the eye strain they can cause.

“Blue light is the most common type of light emitted from digital screens. Blue light has been shown to disrupt melatonin levels in the brain and subsequentlyaffect sleep quality and patterns.” 

This disruption of sleep can lead to a higher risk of other medical conditions such as;

  1. Depression

  2. Obesity

  3. Certain Cancers

  4. Cataracts

  5. As well as decreased concentration, poor memory and difficulty learning

How your Optometrist can help you Manage the Risks of our Digital World:

Managing your screen time and following the advised timelines and breaks for screen viewing are a great first step in maintaining your vision. However, a visit to your eye doctor means assistance with:

  1. Ensuring your prescription eyeglasses are providing optimal vision for your computer screen

There are special lenses your optometrist can prescribe that block blue light from your device and decrease your risk of developing the associated health conditions.

  1. You are following and administering eye drops on a healthy schedule to maintain your eyes adequate moisture levels

During an eye exam, the eye doctor checks all components of the eye assessing any dryness. They can recommend eye drops that will help with managing any digital eye strain symptoms.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above or would like to discuss decreasing your health risks, visit our optometrists to ensure your glasses are optimized for computer viewing or potentially get a pair of glasses that will help improve your end of day symptoms.

Book your comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Swatch today!

Author Bio:

Dr. Swatch is a certified eye doctor at Trillium Eye Care at Port Credit, Mississauga and loves writing during her free time. She often writes about eye health and the risks of developing eye problems aside from working to end the miseries that eye diseases bring.


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