While technology has undoubtedly made our lives more convenient, it has also brought along uncomfortable symptoms that can affect your vision. You’re not alone if you spend considerable time staring at your computer, phone, or tablet screen.
Many people experience digital eye strain and headaches due to prolonged screen use. However, there is no evidence that blue light glasses can help. Headaches, often accompanied by eye strain and fatigue, are avoidable by taking certain precautions, like adopting healthy screen habits.
Visit your eye doctor for an eye exam to determine the cause of your symptoms, which may result from an underlying vision problem.
What Is Digital Eye Strain?
Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome (CVS), is a vision-related problem resulting from prolonged and frequent use of digital devices, such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles. It’s a common issue in today’s digital age, affecting people of all ages, from children to adults.
Symptoms of digital eye strain can include:
- Blurry vision
- Double vision
- Dry eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Watery eyes
Many factors can contribute to digital eye strain, including:
- Extended screen time: Spending long hours staring at digital screens can cause eye fatigue and discomfort. Unlike printed text and images, digital content is created using pixels, and focusing on pixels requires more eye effort than printed text.
- Poor ergonomics: Incorrect positioning of screens, keyboards, and seating can lead to uncomfortable posture and increased strain on the neck, shoulders, and back, which can, in turn, affect eye comfort.
- Reduced blink rate: People tend to blink less when staring at screens—4 times compared to the average of 17 times per minute. Reduced blink rate can result in dry eyes and general eye discomfort, as blinking helps spread a protective tear film over the eye’s surface.
Blue Light & the Role of Blue Light Glasses
Blue light is a high-energy, short-wavelength light part of the visible light spectrum. It’s present mainly in natural sunlight and is crucial for regulating our sleep-wake cycle and boosting daytime alertness.
However, when we’re exposed to excessive artificial low-intensity blue light, primarily emitted by digital screens and LED lighting, we can experience eye strain. Why? Because blue light scatters more in the eye and is not as easily focused as lower energy wavelength light.
Prolonged exposure to artificial blue light sources, especially in the evening, can disrupt our circadian rhythm, making it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep, leading to daytime fatigue.
Blue light glasses, also known as computer or blue light-blocking glasses, are eyewear designed to filter out or block blue light emitted by screens and artificial lighting. These glasses are equipped with special coatings or materials that absorb or reflect blue light, reducing its intensity before it reaches your eyes.
No evidence suggests blue light glasses can prevent digital eye strain and accompanying symptoms, such as headaches. If you are considering getting blue light glasses, speak to your eye doctor to make an informed decision.
How to Prevent Eye Strain & Headaches
So, blue light glasses aren’t a cure for digital eye strain or headaches. But you can take other measures to prevent symptoms related to prolonged screen usage:
- Take regular breaks: Use the 20-20-20 rule to avoid eye strain and dry eyes. Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at something at least 20 feet away.
- Remember to blink: Frequent blinking lubricates the eyes, prevents the eye’s surface from drying out, and helps maintain a healthy ocular surface.
- Use artificial tear drops: Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can provide temporary relief from dry eyes. Consult your eye doctor on which eye drops to use.
- Reduce glare: You can reduce the glare on your screen by adjusting your screen to minimize glare and avoid other sources of glare, such as from a window or light.
- Adjust your screen: Adjust font size, contrast, and brightness on your screen to support your eye comfort. Also, position your screen at or below eye level and arm’s length from your eyes.
- Visit your eye doctor for regular comprehensive eye exams: Eye exams help keep your eyes healthy, vision clear and comfortable, and help your eye doctor detect early signs of serious eye diseases before they can affect your vision.
Good Habits for Better Eye Health
In a screen-centric world, headaches and eye strain are a common concern for many. While blue light glasses aren’t a magic cure for digital eye strain, they do offer tangible benefits for supporting better sleep patterns.
To prevent headaches, take regular breaks from screens, maintain proper ergonomics, and ensure adequate lighting in your workspace. If you struggle with persistent headaches and eye discomfort, book an appointment with Advance Eye Care Center for personalized diagnosis and treatment recommendations.