Eye strain, headaches and fatigue at work are all too common of concerns affecting a growing number of Albertans. Recently, a patient in his late 20s came in for his annual eye exam complaining of these symptoms and how it was affecting his productivity at work. He works as a draftsman for a local home builder, which requires him to sit in front of two large computer monitors for eight to 10 hours a day.
Eyestrain is a common condition. It’s becoming even more frequent in this digital age. Eyestrain caused by the use of digital devices like computers, smartphones, and tablets is better known as computer vision syndrome or digital eyestrain.
Generally, eyestrain can be treated with simple, noninvasive methods. Prolonged eyestrain or eye irritation may be a sign of something more serious and should be discussed with your doctor.
Common causes of eyestrain
Eyestrain may occur after focusing on one particular task for an extended period of time. Some symptoms of eyestrain include:
One of the biggest causes of eyestrain is the daily use of digital screens for several hours at a time. The Vision Council reports that 87 percent of those in the United States use one or more digital device for more than two hours a day. And the use of digital devices is not exclusive to adults. The same report states that 76.5 percent of American children are looking at screens for more than two hours a day. These children may experience the effects of eyestrain or other conditions as a result of this digital device exposure.
Other common causes of eyestrain include:
focusing on a single task for a long length of time, such as driving or reading
being in an inadequately lit environment, either too dim or too bright
feeling stressed or tired experiencing poor vision or eye problems like dry eyes
Some causes specific to digital eyestrain are:
- maintaining poor posture when viewing a digital device
- failing to blink as often as normal
- holding a digital device too far or too close to your eyes
- being exposed to extended amounts of blue light, which is the light commonly emitted from digital devices
- viewing a screen that doesn’t have properly adjusted lighting