Screen Time Can Effect Vision
Written by Editor   
Friday, May 08, 2015 12:00 AM

Computers, tablets, and smartphones are necessary devices in many modern workplaces. However, with the increase in screen time, whether at work or for leisure, the risk of digital eye strain has also increased.  According to a recent report from The Vision Council, more than 60 percent of adults spend five or more hours on digital devices each day. In addition, the report said that office workers who spend significant time in front of computer screens experience eye strain and undergo changes in tear fluid similar to people with dry eye disease.

“Computer Vision Syndrome” affects between 50-90 percent of computer workers because a computer screen adds the elements of screen contrast, flicker, and glare. Additionally, computer eye problems are more likely to occur in those who already have an eye problem, such as nearsightedness or astigmatism.

Computer vision syndrome symptoms may include:

  • burred or double vision,
  • dry, red eyes,
  • eye irritation,
  • headaches, and
  • neck or back pain.

Prevent Blindness, a volunteer eye health and safety group suggests these steps to help prevent eyestrain and fatigue:

  • Visit an eye doctor for a dilated eye exam to make sure you are seeing clearly and to detect any potential vision issues.
  • Place your screen 20 to 26 inches away from your eyes and a little bit below eye level.
  • Use a document holder placed next to your computer screen. It should be close enough so you don’t have to swing your head back and forth or constantly change your eye focus.
  • Adjust the text size on the screen to a comfortable level.
  • Change your lighting to lower glare and harsh reflections. Glare filters over your computer screen can also help.
  • Use a chair that is adjustable.
  • Choose screens that can tilt and swivel. A keyboard that you can adjust is also helpful.
  • The Vision Council recommends the 20-20-20 break: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  • Dust and wipe digital screens to help reduce glare.

Prevent Blindness also offers a Work Safety module as part of its free program, the Healthy Eyes Educational Series. Each module in the series includes a presentation guide and corresponding PowerPoint presentation on a relevant eye health topic such as adult eye disorders, eye anatomy, healthy living, low vision, and various safety topics. Fact sheets can be downloaded at any time from the website ( for use as handouts to accompany the presentation.