Digital Eye-Strain: What Is It and How to Prevent It?


Digital eye-strain is a kind of strain that is felt in the eye and its muscles after hours of using digital phones, computers, tablets, and other electronic gadgets. Seeing as these gadgets are as ubiquitous as the air we breathe in this age, it comes as no surprise that around 70% of millennials constantly suffer from digital eye strain. According to the American Optometric Association 70-75% of office workers in general will suffer from digital eye strain at some point.

This eye-strain is not as painful as it is bothersome, but it affects the entire nation! Could there be a way to prevent eye strain or make working with our electronics more comfortable? Thankfully, there are a few steps that you can take to prevent the development of this condition.



When you focus on a bright screen such as the one on your computer, you have the tendency to blink slower. To prevent your eyes from drying up and becoming irritated, you must make a conscious effort to blink every so often (around every 10 seconds). Irritated eyes can cause eye strain by making it harder to focus on the screen. Blinking helps prevent this by coating the conjunctiva (a layer that covers the white part of the eye) with fluid. The fluid cleanses the eye and provides lubrication, making blinking more comfortable and focusing that much easier.


Palming your eyes provides short-term relief to tired eyes that have been staring at excel spread sheets for hours on end. Put your palm upon your closed eyes and gently massage them in a circular motion. Your eyes, being closed, will allow your eye muscles and the eye itself to rest while the palming helps soothe the surrounding muscles.


We usually take our computer display settings for granted. Most people will take years before trying to customize the display settings on their gadgets. To prevent eye strain, you must adjust the brightness and color temperature of your screen. The brightness of your screen must match the brightness of the surrounding area. If your computer is bright enough to function as a light source for the area then your screen is too bright. If it looks dull when the room you are in is covered in white light, your screen may be too dark. Among all the wavelength hues your screen emits, the short wavelength blue ones cause the most strain to your eyes. Adjust the amount of blue light emitted by your screen and expect your eyes to be more comfortable for longer on your computer.

Fonts and the contrast of their color against the page can cause eye strain for those who type all day. Experiment with the page magnification to see what size print is most comfortable for you. When it comes to contrast, black letters against a white background seems to work best.


You finally have an excuse to have the company upgrade your pre-historic tube style monitor. It turns out these monitors flicker much more than LCD monitors do. The flicker, although not that apparent, can cause strain to our eyes as our eyes struggle to refocus after each flicker of the screen. 

If, like me, you thought that high resolution screens were just a fancy way for computer companies to jack up prices considerably, you might be wrong. Turns out high-resolution screens, aside from being much clearer, have a lower dot pitch that makes the images much sharper. A screen with a dot pitch of .28mm or lower could help soothe your eyes by providing images that are as close to real life as possible.


Computer glasses have a different focal point than reading glasses. That said, this difference in focal points require less effort for your eyes to focus on the screen. Using improper eyewear can do more harm than good in this case. Any extra effort to focus the eyes can cause eye muscle strain and increased eye pressure which could lead to pain, discomfort or even result to migraines. 

Since we are at the subject of eyeglasses, it is important to get a comprehensive eye exam to see if you have any underlying eye conditions aside from digital eye strain. Also, an optometrist could get you fitted with the right kind of glasses that you need.


Glare from surfaces in your working area could cause digital eyestrain. The glare from these surfaces could give the images on your screen an over-exposed look and your eyes would then have to overcompensate just so you can see the image clearly. 


The way you sit relative to your computer or the way your computer is positioned is more important than you think. Computer ergonomics can help alleviate not only digital eye strain but lower back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome as well. 

To avoid digital eyestrain you must sit upright and your neck should be straight, not extended backwards or bowing down. You must face your computer screen directly. Avoid positions that will require you to look to the side for too long. Place the screen a little bit below eyelevel. This way, you can view the screen without having to bend your neck.