an orange laptop with a face drawn on it.

Eyes and Digital Devices

A survey, by the American Optometric Association, found that on average, Americans spend 7 hours a day on a handheld device or computer. Devices are everywhere these days – work, home, school, medical office, restaurants…the list can go on and on and on.

Recently, our clinical liaison was at a local employee health fair and she received a decent number of comments and questions regarding how the daily use of electronic devices make a person’s eyes feel tired or dry. The health fair participants are not the only ones we hear complaining about eye fatigue or strain or dryness. We are hearing it from our patients as well! Luckily, there are several options to help combat some of the common complaints we hear (eye strain or fatigue, headaches, burning eyes, blurred vision, double vision, and neck/shoulder discomfort).

Desktop Computers / Laptops. Adjustments can be made to the height and angle of the monitor to eye level, as well as ambient lighting and font size to ease eye strain and/or neck and shoulder discomfort. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a whole web page devoted to computer workstations. Another option may be to consider special computer glasses. These glasses may have a either a yellow tint and/or anti-glare coating to help decrease glare from the monitor. Additionally, there are anti-glare/privacy screens that can be attached to a desktop or laptop screen to reduce glare.

Handheld Devices. For many of us, a handheld device is used more frequently than a computer monitor. Device screens are smaller, resulting in smaller font and fewer pixels. People are not going to stop using their handheld devices all together – so what can be done?

The easiest step is to follow the 20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and look 20 feet away.  Take this one step further and get up and walk around. You neck and shoulders will thank you. This rule applies to all devices, not just handheld.

Increase the font size on your handheld device – this will make reading easier and you may find yourself squinting less.

Adjust screen brightness, ensuring the screen is neither too bright nor too dim. Reducing glare on the screen and make sure the screen is clean can also help reduce eye strain.

Don’t forget to blink! Yes, something as easy as blinking can make a huge difference. When we read, use a computer or other device, we tend to blink less. Blinking less causes the eyes to become dry and irritated and your vision to become blurry.

As always, if you are noticing changes in your vision or are experiencing some of the common complaints mentioned above or it has been more than a year since your last exam, call 919-282-1100 or visit to schedule an appointment.

Life is beautiful, see it clearly!