Preventing Computer Eye Strain - Smart Vision Labs

Many people notice their eyes seem tired after using a computer for a while. But it isn’t their work making their eyes want to shut.

These people are feeling the effects of computer vision syndrome (CVS). Sometimes it is also called digital eye strain. It happens when people focus their eyes on a screen for a long period of time without breaks. Despite the name, it can be caused by staring at any screen for too long at once, so your tablet and phone are just as likely to cause it as your laptop.

CVS may show up as dry eyes or blurred vision. Headaches can occur from the eye strain. Although it is primarily an eye problem, it can also be the cause of neck and shoulder pains. The symptoms generally stop when the person takes a break from using the computer.

This issue is being seen more often due to more people working in offices or staying in school longer to get advanced degrees. Because these people rely on computer work to succeed in school or their job, just turning the screen off isn’t a good solution for them.

Thankfully, there are many simple things you can do to keep your eyes rested without limiting your computer use.


The dryness from digital eye strain occurs because people using a computer can literally stare at the screen without blinking. While using an electronic device, people tend to blink less and without fully closing their lids. This prolonged exposure to air is what causes the eyes to dry out. Simply making a conscious effort to blink will re-lubricate your eyes. Making about 10 full, closed-eye blinks every 20 minutes or so will allow your eyes to regain their natural wetness. If this particular area is an issue, lubricating eyedrops, or artificial tears, can provide some extra comfort.


After you do this, you can also use the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain. This rule says every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. (If you’re a procrastinator, you probably already do this unintentionally to avoid working or studying.) This gives your eyes a chance to rest by not having them stare at an object that is in a static position. Even better, take a quick walk on these breaks. This has the added benefit of treating shoulder and neck pains which may show up along with the dry eyes.

Brightness Settings

Adjusting the brightness of the screen you’re using can help lessen the amount of time it takes to feel the effects of computer eye strain. Your device’s screen shouldn’t act as a light source. The perfect brightness should be similar to the lighting of the room you are in. On the other side, your screen shouldn’t be too dark either. If your screen seems dim or you are straining to read text, it’s time to turn the brightness up a bit. The additional brightness also adds contrast, which makes text easier to read.

Screen Glare

Speaking of room lighting, adjusting interior lighting will reduce screen glare which, in turn, makes your screen easier to read. Floor or desk lamps with low-intensity bulbs, one on each side of your workstation, are the ideal placement for lighting the room you do computer work in. This allows your workspace to be evenly lit without causing screen glare as overhead or fluorescent lights do.

So the next time you feel tired at work, maybe it is just your eyes which need a rest.

Straining to see clearly and think you might need glasses? Get your eyes checked today.

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