Digital eye strain: are your eyes suffering from tech devices? Experts offer eye health tips

Posted at 5:30 AM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-05 11:47:00-04

Digital devices are a fact of life now but all that screen time is hurting your eye health.

Digital eye strain happens when you've been using your tech device for more than two hours -- which 87 percent of the population does, including kids, according to The Vision Council.

The science behind it comes down to the blue light screens emanate, and our eyes have no natural filter.  

“We know that blue light in the short term can disrupt our sleep patterns. In the long term, it may be associated with vision problems. So filtering it out has become more and more important.” said Dr. Justin Bazan with The Vision Council. 

He says eye strain is setting people up for long-term problems like cataracts and macular degeneration. 

Signs to watch for and speak to a doctor about are dry, red, irritated eyes and headaches while using devices like smartphones, tablets and computers. 

There are also glasses and contacts that specifically help to cut out blue light but these are probably different than your prescription pairs. 

United Healthcare says watching 3-D movies could also help identify eye trouble. 

“3-D movies can actually be an indicator of whether your eyes are working well as a team. If they aren't, you first of all, cannot be able to appreciate that 3-D type of movie is offering. It can make you a little bit dizzy sometimes if you are trying to appreciate that 3-D,” said Chief Eyecare Officer Dr. Linda Chous. 

Some other tips to ease the strain are:

  • Blink often.
  • Take breaks and practice the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from the screen for 20 seconds.