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Digital Eye Strain

Digital Eye Strain Adds Unnecessary Stress to Your Workday

Most of us spend a lot of our day staring at a screen. Have you ever considered what kind of effect that has on your eyes? Digital eye strain is a very common problem nowadays; one with less than pleasant side effects. The more you know about digital eye strain, the more effectively you can protect yourself.

What is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain (sometimes known as computer vision syndrome) is a series of uncomfortable symptoms that can occur as a result of long, uninterrupted periods of screen time. It can be caused by computer monitors, tablets, mobile phones, handheld gaming devices… anything with a digital display.

Try holding your arms straight up in the air. It probably won’t feel too uncomfortable right away, but after a few hours of sitting this way, your arm muscles would be exhausted. That’s essentially what happens when you experience digital eye strain; focusing on a single distance for hours at a time forces your eye muscles to hold one position without a chance to rest.

Unfortunately not. The human body does adapt to its environment, but this process can take hundreds, if not thousands of years. Our eyes will most likely adapt to meet the demands we put on them eventually, but considering digital displays have really only become such a common part of our daily lives in the last decade or so, it makes sense that our eyes haven’t quite had a chance to catch up.

Digital displays emit something called blue light. Blue light is very difficult for the eye to focus, as it tends to scatter. As a result, your eye works extra hard to make sense of what it’s seeing; tiring it out sooner. That’s why you’re more likely to experience eye strain after a day of computer use than after a day spent reading a book. One study conducted on animals indicated that blue light could also cause some damage to retinal cells.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

  • Burning, sore or irritated eyes
  • Extremely dry or watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Neck, shoulder, or back pain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Struggling to keep eyes open
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light

Computer Use is Also Linked to Dry Eye

Research shows that we blink 60% less than normal during computer usage. As a result, the tear film on the eye evaporates, allowing the eye to become dry, irritated, and inflamed. This inflammation can lead to further dry eye symptoms, creating a vicious cycle.

Read more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of dry eye.

Shaughnessy Optometry Can Help Alleviate Digital Eye Strain

Book an eye exam today and ask your optometrist what you should do about your digital eye strain. We’re happy to recommend a number of strategies and products to help, including computer glasses.

Computer Glasses

One excellent way to alleviate digital eye strain and prevent damage to retinal cells is by filtering out blue light. We offer blue light lenses, perfect for reducing the impact blue light has on your eyes. Ask your optometrist if computer glasses are a good option for you.

Visit Our Shaughnessy Location

We’re located on Oak Street, just across the street from Emily Carr Public School and beside the Easter Seal house. Stop in, take a look around our office, and say hello; we’d love to meet you. Our patients have access to free street-level parking in our parking lot adjacent to the Royal Bank.


3955 Oak Street
Vancouver BC, V6H 2M7



Monday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

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