Digital Eye Strain

Digital Eye Strain results from from prolonged computer, tablet and mobile phone use.  Australians spend an average of 9.4 hours in front of a screen on a daily basis. Research shows that only 2 hours in front of digital screens is enough to cause digital eye strain.

digital eye strain 1In our modern world, we are increasingly using information presented on digital screens rather than printed material. Digital screens are usually located at a near or intermediate distance and present similar tasks to reading. Good near focus ability and eye co-ordination is required to maintain comfortable vision for all near tasks.

Screen based devices emit natural blue light and it has been recently suggested that excessive exposure may contribute to discomfort. In addition, we probably spend more time each day using digital screens than we did previously with reading print.

Causes of Digital Eye Strain

digital eye strain 3Conditions which can contribute include:

  • uncorrected focussing or coordination vision problems
  • poor lighting
  • glare from light sources reflecting off the digital screen
  • variable viewing distances and screen position
  • poor posture
  • a combination of these factors
  • reduced natural blinking

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

The most common symptoms associated include:

  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • dry eyes
  • neck and shoulder pain

Our optometrist Yang and our optical dispensers Birgit and Hong can advise you on which lens designs and coatings will be most suitable to relieve your digital eyestrain when you visit Eyecare Plus Corrimal.

digital eye strain 2

Treatment of Digital Eye Strain

In some cases, individuals who do not require the use of eyeglasses for other daily activities may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for computer use. In addition, persons already wearing glasses may find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer.

Specific lens designs, lens tints or coatings may help to maximize visual abilities and comfort.


Practical tips to assist in easing the discomfort in the short term include:

  • Try to keep your computer monitor at arm’s length and the top near or below eye level. Looking down slightly to the screen allows the eyes to align better
  • Ensure that the eyes are well focussed and aligned at the screen viewing distance and wear any spectacles recommended for the task
  • Monitor lighting – you will be more comfortable if the room has good general illumination, the screen has appropriate brightness and contrast and is tilted to avoid reflected surface glare
  • Have a break occasionally by getting up and leaving your desk. Moving about relieves any postural problems and looking at longer distances allows the eyes to relax focus.
  • Don’t forget to blink regularly to avoid the eyes drying. Blink rate reduces when concentrating on specific tasks and many office environments have low humidity. Avoid having your face directly in air flow from air conditioning outlets, fans or heaters. Fresh humid air will also help with comfort.