What Are Digital Devices?

These can be computer screens, smart phones, tablets, and similar devices.

Can Looking at Computer Screens Damage My Eyes?

While complaints of eye fatigue and discomfort are common among digital device users, these symptoms are not caused by the screen itself. Digital screens give off little or no harmful radiation (such as x-rays or UV rays). All levels of radiation from computer screens are below levels that can cause eye damage such as cataracts.

Digital screens do exposure your eyes to blue light. Blue light exposure you get from screens is small compared to the amount of exposure from the sun.  And yet, there is concern over the long-term effects of screen exposure because of the close proximity of the screens and the length of time spent looking at them. According to a recent NEI-funded study, children’s eyes absorb more blue light than adults from digital device screens.

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Can Looking at Digital Screens Cause Eyestrain?

Fatigue, dry eyes, bad lighting, or how you sit in front of these screens can cause eyestrain. Symptoms of eyestrain include sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing. You may also have symptoms of eyestrain if you need glasses or a change in your glasses.

What Can I Do to Prevent Eyestrain?

You can help prevent eyestrain by making changes to your workspace and by visiting your eye doctor. Here are a few suggestions on how to make your workspace more comfortable:

  • 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 screen. It should be close enough so you don’t have to swing your head back and forth or constantly change your eye focus.
  • Change your lighting to lower glare and harsh reflections. Glare filters over your digital screens can also help.
  • Get a chair you can adjust.
  • Choose screens that can tilt and swivel. A keyboard that you can adjust is also helpful.
  • Computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses that block blue light can help ease digital eye strain by increasing contrast.
  • Anti-reflective lenses reduce glare and increase contrast and also block blue light from digital devices.

 

Last updated: 4/9/16