How to Relieve Digital Eye Strain

Just two hours in front of a digital screen can cause your eyes to feel strained. The average Australian spends 10 hours a day staring at some form of screen. This is not surprising given the increased dependency on computers, tablets and mobile devices for work and school.

Digital eye strain can be caused by:

  • Poor lighting
  • Screen glare and blue light
  • Improper viewing distance from devices
  • Not blinking enough
  • Poor posture

Digital eye strain affects all age groups but can be relieved by following a few easy steps.  

1. USE THE 20-20-20 RULE

Each time you use your digital device, take a 20 second break from the screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away. 

2. POSITION YOUR COMPUTER MONITOR

Keep your computer monitor at arm’s length for proper viewing distance and have the top of the monitor near or below eye level to avoid straining your eyes and neck. 

3. BLINK OFTEN

Remind yourself to blink frequently to prevent your eyes from drying out. 

4. GET REGULAR EYE TESTS

Unattended eye conditions may worsen digital eye strain. Make sure you have regular comprehensive eye tests every year, regardless of whether you are a heavy digital device user or not. 

5. CONSIDER BLUE LIGHT LENSES

Wearing glasses with blue light lenses is a popular way to decrease symptoms of digital eye strain. They look like regular glasses but feature a protective lens coating that helps filter out harmful blue light from reaching your eyes, keeping your eyes relaxed. 

Visit your local Eyecare Plus to find out more about blue light glasses available.

How Blue Light Affects your Eyes

Many of us spend the bulk of our day staring at digital screens. Reading this article means there’s a good chance you’re looking at one right now. Most screens emit blue light. 

Light visible to the human eye is made up the colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. These colours vary in wavelength and frequency. The blue, indigo and violet lights are higher frequency and energy. Studies suggest that, over time, exposure to these high energy blue lights could cause both short and long-term damage to your eyes.

Fluorescent and LED lights as well as LED screens found in televisions, computers and mobile phones emit high amounts of blue light. It is the blue light from devices held close to the eye that is most likely to cause eye strain and retinal damage due to their proximity to the eye.

Higher energy blue light flickers more than longer wavelengths of light. This flickering creates a glare that can reduce contrast and affect clarity. This can then cause eyestrain, headaches, physical and mental fatigue.

Our eyes natural filters don’t provide sufficient protection against blue light rays. Over the longer term, prolonged exposure to blue light may cause retinal damage and contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to permanent loss of vision. Chronic exposure to blue light has also been shown to have detrimental effects on our general health and disturb regular sleep patterns.

Exposure to blue light can be reduced with a coating on spectacle lenses that blocks the blue light. This can be applied to spectacles for everyday or simply ones designed for computer and screen use. Blue light filters can also be applied to specific screens that are used. These options can help you relieve digital eye strain.

Watch the below video to find out more about the affects of Blue Light.

5 Tips for buying the right eyewear for your child

Wearing glasses can be a daunting thought for most kids. Remove the stress by following these five tips to ensure you buy the perfect pair that your child will wear and love. 

1. Decide between plastic or metal frames
Most frames are made of either plastic or metal. Plastic frames are often more popular than metal for its choice of colours, shapes, lightness and sturdiness. One drawback, however, is that the nose bridge of plastic frames is set with the design, so may have the tendency to slide down the nose if the frame doesn’t fit properly. 

2. Proper Fit
Fit and comfort come hand in hand. Children have different face shapes and nose bridge heights from adults. If you’re choosing to buy a plastic frame, it’s best to avoid purchasing them online as you cannot determine the nose bridge fit. Visit an optometrist with a wide range of kids frames and get recommendations from the optical dispenser, who are professionally trained to fit glasses on all face shapes. 

3. Style
Kids are more likely to wear glasses with frames they like. The good news is Eyecare Plus practices have a great range of colours, patterns and shapes to choose from. Have your child try on a couple of frames they like, and more importantly, have them pick the pair they will wear. 

4. Durability
You want your child to have a frame that will last the playground and their active lifestyle. Find frames with spring hinges as these will be able to flex outwards without breaking. 

5. Back up pair
Remove the stress of losing their glasses by keeping a spare pair at home. This becomes very handy if your child accidentally leaves their glasses on the school bus or classroom.

Does your child need their eyes checked? Find your local Eyecare Plus to book an appointment.

Protect your eyes from UV damage

Our eyes are more sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) rays than our skin. From an early age, the focus has been on protecting our skin with sunscreen. But what about our eyes?

How does UV affect the eye?

A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a nutritious diet benefits overall physical and mental well-being, as well as the eyes. Eat a varied and healthy diet. There is no scientific evidence suggesting that certain vitamins and minerals prevent glaucoma or delay its progress. However, carotenoids (especially lutein and zeaxanthin), antioxidants (vitamins C and E), vitamins A and D, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids may all contribute to better vision.

When does it start to affect us?

The risk of eye damage from UV rays is cumulative throughout life. That makes it extremely important to start protecting your eyes from an early age. If you haven’t been protecting your eyes, make sure you start protecting them immediately.

How to protect your eyes from UV damage?

Wear good quality sunglasses when you are outdoors, including when it’s cloudy outside. Look for sunglasses that meet the Australian Standards for UV protection by checking that they are labelled as category 2, 3 or 4, and have an Eye Protection Factor (EPF) of 9 or 10. Your optometrist can help you choose the best sunglass lenses and frame for your needs. Select a pair that sits well on your face. Protect yourself further by wearing a broad-brimmed hat.

Find your local Eyecare Plus to view the range of sunglasses available to help protect your eyes from UV Damage.