Twenty years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine a world where everything we do is based on screens. From reading to research and from socializing to shopping, we now navigate our world from smartphones, laptops, PCs, and SmartTVs.

All of that information at our fingertips is great, but it’s also tough on our eyes. Digital eye strain, a condition that was virtually non-existent a generation ago, now affects 60.5 percent — almost two out of three — Americans.

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, can affect anyone from children who use tablets and computers throughout the day at school to professionals who spend their days working from desktop computers, tablets, laptops, and smartphones. Symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Irritated eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

The best way to alleviate digital eye strain is to cut back your use of digital technology devices, but for many people, that’s just not a practical solution. A whopping three out of four Americans age 60 and over use their computers and phones more than two hours a day, and that percentage only increases in younger generations. Among people ages 40 to 59, four out of five say they use their digital devices more than two hours each day, and almost nine of every 10 18- to 39-year-olds say they are glued to their screens at least that often.

If you must use digital devices, there are other ways to alleviate symptoms:

Brighten Up. It’s tempting to save battery life by lowering the brightness on your phone or computer, but a brighter screen or monitor can actually reduce the risk of eye strain. Brighter monitors have reduced flicker rates, which allows your pupils to remain constricted. In turn, this reduces eye fatigue.

Don’t Stare at Glare. Not only is glare an annoying distraction, it’s also hard on your eyes because they have to strain to focus on the task at hand. Avoid high-intensity lamps at your desk, and place dim lighting on either side of your monitor. Position yourself so the sun doesn’t shine on your workspace, and use a screen hood and/or an anti-reflective filter on your most commonly used screens.

Save the Reflection for the Mirror. Prescription glasses lenses are now available with an anti-reflective coating. These can help reduce digital eye strain.

Position Your Peepers. Believe it or not, the angle at which you view your computer or tablet can make a noticeable difference. The middle of the screen should be about 15 or 20 degrees below your eye level (think really thin slice of pie) and 20 to 28 inches away from your face.

See It Clearly to Begin. The only thing  that worsens digital eye strain more than staring at a screen day after day is doing it through already blurry vision. Make sure your glasses and contacts prescriptions are up-to-date, or better yet, visit us at Brinton Vision to find out if LASIK or any of its six modern variations can help you.

To learn more, or to see the world in a whole new light without the hassle of glasses or contacts, find out about St. Louis LASIK options by calling Brinton Vision at 314.375.2020, or schedule your Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis online. You can also take our 60-second self-test to find out if you might be a good candidate for a lifetime of crisp, clear vision.