Digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome
If after a few hours on your screen your eyes sting even more than after dropping a silencer and forgetting to open the windows of your Twingo, you are probably suffering from digital eye strain also known by the terrible name of computer vision syndrome (SVI ) .
If you manage to overcome the brutality of this modest introduction, we will be able to explain to you in more detail (and not without humor) what it is about.
In this article:
What is digital eye strain
- How to protect yourself
Computer vision syndrome / Digital eye strain: what are we talking about?
The term "Computer vision syndrome" is borrowed directly from our friends in North America (Computer vision syndrome). To assert our independence, in this article we will use the more appropriate synonym term of digital eye strain.
This syndrome is a set of vision problems resulting from the prolonged use of a computer, a tablet , an e-reader, a smartphone, in short, a digital screen.
Digital Eye Strain Symptoms
- Generalized eyestrain
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Dry eyes, stinging
- Eye irritation, redness
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Difficulty refocusing the eyes
All of these symptoms do not necessarily occur simultaneously but may occur in turn depending on the context in which the screens are used and the sensitivity of the user.
Origin, why do screens hurt the eyes?
When your eyes focus on a screen for prolonged, uninterrupted periods, your eye muscles gradually become unable to recover from the constant strain needed to maintain focus on a nearby object.
On top of that, reading a screen comes with some very specific difficulties .
Often the letters on the screen are not as sharp or sharply defined, the level of contrast of the letters against the background is reduced, and the presence of reflections on the screen can make viewing difficult.
The viewing distances and angles used are also often different from those used for other reading or writing tasks.
Therefore, the concentration and eye movement demands of viewing a digital screen place additional demands on your eyes.
Basically, your visual system is under pressure ( and I'm not talking about Kro) and often has to strain to maintain clear vision.
- Bad lighting
- Inadequate viewing distances.
- Bad sitting position
- Use of screens outdoors (+ UV and reflections)
- Uncorrected vision problems
- A combination of these factors
Conclusion : In most cases, digital eye strain is due to the fact that the visual demands of the task exceed the individual's visual abilities to perform them comfortably (that's right, isn't it?)
How to reduce eye strain caused by our screens
How to relieve your eyes from screens? Apart from stopping spending 10 hours a day on our PCs you mean? Oh I see, you want a solution that allows you to continue on your path of connected cyborg and enjoy hundreds of hours of gameplay on the latest Elden Ring or the last season of The Witcher on Netflix without ruining your eyes. Ok, let's see what we can do.
Finding a better balance with the 20-20-20 method
A good mnemonic device to counter the visual fatigue of screens.
Basically, for every 20 minutes you spend using a screen , you stare at something 20 feet (6 meters) away from you (another thing invented by Uncle Sam) for a total of 20 seconds.
No need to be very precise in terms of distance, the idea is to focus on a distant object to force the eye to relax. It takes about 20 seconds for your eyes to fully relax.
Consider setting yourself a little reminder via your phone 's alarm to anchor this good habit (or you can even find an app that takes care of reminding you).
Protect yourself with screen glasses
One of the simplest and most effective ways to protect yourself from screen light. Screen glasses create a physical barrier between your eyes and the environment. The best screen glasses filter:
- 100% UV
- Aggressive blue light between 380 and 450 nanometers
- The reflections
Take a look at the Horus X screen glasses or gaming glasses , based on technologies developed for gamers and those most exposed to screens. Guaranteed guaranteed effectiveness (no error here, guaranteed result + lifetime guarantee = twice more guarantees but I digress).
thinking about blinking
Easy to say, not so easy to implement. Try to think about it because we tend to forget to blink when we are hyper concentrated and the eyes take a hit.
Be careful not to scare your co-workers if you start blinking frantically in the middle of your open space.
You can also try using eye drops, but that's more of a treatment for the symptoms rather than a solution that addresses the cause of the problem.
It's also a good idea to get up and have a glass of water to hydrate yourself (no coke, no fanta, no pepsi, water, wateruuuuu because your body is in full growth (#pubcult)). If your body is hydrated, your eyes will be too .
Like a samurai, drinking green tea during your break can help you even more. With its antioxidants, tea can help you produce tears for better lubrication (or if you're making really gross tea, tears of disgust).
Reduce glare and adjust ambient light
If you only remember one thing here, above all, no window behind you that would create nasty reflections on your screen.
Beyond that, eye strain is often caused by too bright light , whether it's outdoor sunlight entering through a window or indoor lighting that's too intense or unsuitable.
Where possible, replace neon lights with lamps that provide indirect "soft white" LED lighting, the closest to indirect natural light. Switching to this type of "full-spectrum" lighting, which more closely approximates the light spectrum emitted by sunlight, may be more pleasant for computer work.
Adjust your screen settings
- Brightness : Adjust the brightness of the screen to be approximately the same as your surrounding workstation. As a test, look at the white background of this web page. If it looks like a light source, it's too bright. If it looks dull and gray, it may be too dark.
- Text size and contrast : Adjust text size and contrast for comfort, especially when reading or composing long documents. In general, a black print on a white background is the best combination for maximum comfort.
- Color Temperature : This is a technical term used to describe the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light that is associated with greater eye strain than longer-wavelength hues, such as orange and red. Your screen probably has a built-in filter .
Still fan of the cathode ray screen? (if you don't know what it is, you don't have to worry). Screen technology is constantly evolving and we must take advantage of it.
To rest your eyes, there's nothing like a high-resolution screen to benefit from a sharper image that will be less straining. When choosing a new flat screen, select a screen with the highest possible resolution.
Also choose a relatively large screen. For a desktop computer, a 19-inch screen seems to us a minimum.
Adjust your workstation / game
Well, here we go a step further, but your general comfort is important too.
Your general installation will greatly contribute to the symptoms related to digital visual fatigue. Think about everything that can influence your well-being:
- Do you have a comfortable / ergonomic chair adjusted to the right height?
- Do you have a well-adjusted desk (look at stand up desks, great alternative if you have back problems).
- Is your screen at the right distance (40-70cm) and at the right angle so that you don't have to strain your neck and shoulders.
The final word: Digital eye strain
We almost all spend more than 4 hours a day on our screens . Unless you have bionic vision, it is impossible not to feel the effects of this overexposure to this digital light.
That's not necessarily a bad thing because screens are helping us do more and more interesting things.
Whether it's beautiful excel spreadsheets or the latest Call of Duty, screens allow us to perform essential tasks in our professional and personal lives. Rather than putting them aside completely, we can find a balance that allows us to move forward with serenity.
It is also important to think about it for children who may not complain about it but who are even more sensitive to it.
PS: Also remember to consult your ophthalmologist regularly to detect any other problem related to your small eyes.