Digital Eye Strain

By Athlete's Care on March 12, 2024

Did you know that 30 per cent of adults spend more than 9 hours on a digital device? (Source: With technology becoming a permanent fixture in our lives, it is important to learn about digital eye strain and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms.

Symptoms associated with digital eye strain include sore, tired, burning or itching eyes, watery or dry eyes, blurred vision or double vision, soreness in the neck, shoulders or back, headaches, increased sensitivity to light, squinting and eye fatigue. These symptoms usually occur after using a digital device (e.g. television, laptop, desktop, smartphone, videogames, and tablets) for more than two hours at a time.

Some of the main causes for digital eye strain include focusing on tiny text, the fixed position of the eyes, a reduced blinking rate (one-third of our regular blinking rate of 18 blinks per minute), partial lid closures while blinking and the presence of blue light which is what gives the screens their brightness.

Below are some of the ways to alleviate digital eye strain:

  •          Limit the use of digital devices by downloading applications that remind you to take regular breaks while using the computer (e.g. Time Out for Mac OS and EyeLeo for Windows) and smartphone applications that track your phone usage and prompts you if you are approaching your daily limit.

  •          Follow the 20-20-20 rule, i.e. every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

  •          Blink often as blinking helps lubricate the eyes and prevents dryness and irritation.

  •          Position your computer monitor at arms length away, with the top of the screen(s) at eyelevel. (ideal monitor height may vary for bifocal or trifocal users)

  •          Hold your smartphone at least 16 to 18 inches away from your eyes.

  •          Reduce glare on the screen by shutting blinds, turning off lights, using an anti-glare screen for your monitor or anti-glare screen protector for your smartphone, and ensuring your screen is clean and smudge-free.

  •          Avoid bright lights or windows directly behind the screen which may cause reflections.

  •          Adjust the brightness level on your screen so it is about the same as the light level in the environment around you.

  •          Reduce the effects of blue light by downloading Windows’ products (e.g. Flux) for your computer screen, using smartphone device features (e.g. Android’s “Night Mode” or “Night Light”, Apple’s “Night Shift) and / or wearing blue light lenses.

  •          Increase the text size on your device to better define content on the screen.

  •          Use artificial tears to help prevent and relieve dry eyes.

  •          Get your eyes tested regularly and let your optometrist know if you use digital devices regularly.


Farzana is a Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist (CCPE). She provides ergonomics services for Office, Industrial and Service environments including: Ergonomics Risk Assessments (in-person / virtual), Physical Demands Analyses (PDAs), and Ergonomics Training sessions and webinars. To receive more information about the ergonomics services at Athlete's Care or to request an ergonomics assessment of your workstation, please email

**Insurance providers often cover the cost of a ergonomic assessment, look into your plan and find out if it's covered.**