Digital Eye Strain: 9 Proven Tips For Healthy Screen Time


Posted On September 7, 2023

In today’s digital era, our lives are intertwined with screens. Whether it’s for work, entertainment, or communication, we find ourselves spending hours staring at screens. While this technological advancement has brought numerous conveniences, it has also led to a growing concern: digital eye strain also known as Computer Vision Syndrome. This article explores the connection between screen time and digital eye strain while providing actionable tips to prevent its onset.

Understanding Digital Eye Strain 

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a condition that occurs when we spend prolonged periods focusing on digital screens. The high-energy blue light emitted by these screens, coupled with the need to constantly refocus and the glare they produce, can lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms.

The Link Between Screen Time and Digital Eye Strain

Research has shown a clear correlation between the amount of time spent in front of screens and the likelihood of experiencing eye discomfort.

Our eyes are intricate and delicate organs, and prolonged exposure to screens can lead to various issues collectively called computer vision syndrome. The blue light emitted by screens, coupled with the constant need to focus and refocus, can cause discomfort and strain on our eyes. Some common symptoms include:


Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Digital eye strain can manifest in various ways, including:

  1. Eye Discomfort: Dryness, itchiness, redness, and a gritty sensation in the eyes.
  2. Blurred Vision: Difficulty focusing on objects after prolonged screen exposure.
  3. Headaches: Recurring headaches, often stemming from eye strain.
  4. Neck and Shoulder Pain: Poor posture while using screens can lead to muscle discomfort.
  5. Sleep Disruptions: Exposure to blue light before bedtime can interfere with sleep patterns.

Practical Prevention Tips for Digital Eyestrain

Preventing digital eye strain requires conscious effort and some adjustments to your screen-related habits. Here are practical tips to consider:

1. The 20-20-20 Rule

The eyes are the windows to the digital world, but too much screen time can cloud the view.  

— Unknown

1. The 20-20-20 Rule


Encourage yourself to take regular breaks by following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on an object at least 20 feet away. This simple practice relaxes your eye muscles and reduces strain.

2. Optimize Screen Settings

Adjust your screen’s brightness, contrast, and font size to ensure optimal visibility. A screen that’s too bright or too dim can contribute to eye strain.

3. Blink Frequently

Make a conscious effort to blink more often when using screens. Continuously staring at screens often reduces blinking, causing dry eyes but frequent blinking will help keep your eyes moist.

4. Reduce Glare and Blue Light

Use anti-glare screens and blue light filters to decrease the intensity of harmful light emitted by screens from reaching your eyes. Many devices also have built-in blue light reduction settings that you can activate.

5. Proper Screen Positioning


Position your screen at eye level and about arm’s length away from your eyes. This minimizes the need to strain your neck, eyes, or back while viewing.

6. Adjust Ambient Lighting

Ensure ambient lighting is sufficient to avoid excessive contrast between the screen and your surroundings. Proper lighting in the room helps to reduce glare on the screen. A well-lit room with indirect lighting is ideal for screen usage, thereby reducing eye strain and preventing glare-related discomfort.

7. Screen Time Detox to Reduce Digital Eye Strain

Allocate screen-free time in your day to allow your eyes to rest and recover. Engage in activities that don’t involve screens, such as reading a physical book or going for a walk.

8. Stay Hydrated

No matter how much effort you make to reduce screen time, screens have come to encroach into almost every area of life. So drinking enough water throughout the day can help keep your eyes adequately moistened and reduce the risk of dry eyes.


9. Regular Eye Exams to Get Digital Eye Strain Professional Advice.

Schedule regular eye exams with an optometrist. These exams can detect any underlying issues early on and ensure you have the correct prescription if needed. This can never be over-emphasized. 

It is recommended that everyone get a comprehensive eye examination with dilated pupils on a regular basis, as recommended by their eye doctor.

Those without symptoms or special risk factors should have comprehensive eye examinations at the following intervals:

  • Every 2 to 4 years, if you are between 20 and 39 years old.
  • Every 2 to 4 years, if you are between 40 and 64 years old.
  • Every 1 to 2 years, if you are between 65 years old and older.
  • Individuals at Special Risk


Frequency-Asked Questions on Digital Eye Strain

  1. What causes digital eye strain? The discomforts arise from prolonged exposure to screens, which emit blue light and glare that strain the eyes.
  1. Can children experience digital eye strain? Yes, children are also susceptible, especially with the increased usage of electronic devices for learning and entertainment.
  1. Are all screens equally harmful? No, some screens have blue light filters and anti-glare features that can help reduce eye strain. However, prolonged usage of any screen can still contribute to digital eye strain.
  1. How can I remember to take breaks? Set alarms or use apps that remind you to follow the 20-20-20 rule and take regular screen breaks.
  1. Is digital eye strain permanent? No. It is usually temporary and can be relieved by practicing proper eye care habits and following prevention tips.

Written by Dr. Okwukwe Davis

Okwukwe Davis is a Nigerian Optometrist with a flair for web design aligned with brand strategy. He loves to help Optometrists and Rising Professionals discover growth through his design & strategy studio - StarRose. In his spare time, he writes engaging content to help online platforms build meaningful relationships.

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