Muscles are attached to the eyes, and they can get tired just as other muscles do. Even though the eye muscles are exceptionally strong, they can become strained and fatigued from sitting in front of a computer, a TV or under fluorescent lights for hours at a time. This is called visual fatigue.
Today we want to discuss a particular type of visual fatigue called digital fatigue or digital eye strain. This type of visual fatigue is the physical discomfort that is experienced after prolonged exposure to a digital screen such as a laptop, computer, mobile phone, e-reader or tablet.
What are the Signs of Digital Fatigue?
Symptoms of digital eye fatigue can appear as quickly as 2 hours after looking at the screen. They include:
● Sore or irritated eyes
● Difficulty focusing
● Dry or watery eyes
● Blurred or double vision
● Sensitivity to light
● Pain in the neck, shoulders and back
How Common is Digital Eye Strain?
Digital eye strain is very common because of our reliance on digital technology. It’s estimated that 65 percent of Americans report symptoms of digital eye fatigue. Seventy-five percent of people who use two or more devices simultaneously report eye strain symptoms, compared to 53 percent of those who use only one device at a time.
How Can I Prevent Symptoms?
Even though eye fatigue is common, it’s not something that’s fun to live with, particularly if you have a job that requires you to be on a computer. There are tools available to decrease eye fatigue, such as specialized computer eyewear that can be customized to fit your digital habits.
Additional precautions you can take to reduce the symptoms associated with digital eye fatigue are:
● Use proper lighting
● Minimize glare
● Upgrade to an LCD display
● Adjust your computer display settings
● Blink more often
● Exercise your eyes
● Take frequent breaks
● Visit your eye doctor annually
Is Digital Fatigue Serious?
In most cases, digital fatigue is not serious. By following the tips above and taking smart precautions, you can reduce the symptoms and enjoy a more comfortable day at work. In rare cases, digital eye fatigue can be a sign of an underlying condition, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms such as headaches, double vision or other changes in vision. If this happens, see an eye specialist right away for a proper diagnosis.