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Digital screens have become an integral part of our lives. We rely on tablets, smart phones, gaming devices and computers for the written information we use for leisure, at home and at the workplace.

As the dependence on digital screens increases, so do reports of eye fatigue and discomfort (eye strain).

An important physiologic change that could contribute to eye strain during digital screen viewing is reduced blinking frequency. Normal blinking frequencies are about 15 blinks a minute.

Studies have found that the “mesmeric” effect of viewing digital screens reduces the frequency of our blinking by 30-50%. The reduced blinking results in a dry “tired” sensation.

Staring at digital screens for long periods won’t cause permanent eye damage, but it could result in reduced productivity.

What is the 20-20-20 rule?

A simple relaxing technique to help reduce eye strain is to follow the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes stop viewing your digital screen and search for an object 20 feet away and view it for 20 seconds. Breaking the constant fixation of watching a near digital screen by applying the 20-20-20 rule relaxes the focusing system of the eye and reduces eye strain.

Other Ergonomic Actions to Help Reduce Eye Strain

Don’t let your eyes get dry. With reduced blinking eyes can feel dry as the decreased lid movement does not distribute moisture to the eye surfaces. Use over the counter eye lubricant drops to keep eyes moist.   

25 inches away (arm’s length): Eye focusing muscles have to work harder to provide us with near vision. Placing the digital monitor 25 inches in front of us reduces near vision eye strain. This is approximately an arm’s length distance.

Match the lumens: If a digital screen is brighter than the surroundings, eyes have to work harder to see. Modifying the surrounding light to match the illumination of the digital screen can help reduce eye strain.

If you suspect you might have work related eye issues or excess eye strain from work-related activities, contact Westchester Eye Surgeons today for a consultation.