Digital Eyestrain

In the digital age, your eyes have never worked so hard.

Australians are leading world consumers of tablets, smartphones and computers, with 80% of Australians now owning and using a smartphone. Australians spend an average of 10 hours and 24 minutes on digital devices every day. Collectively, we look at our smartphones more than 440 million times a day, and 75% of us regularly engage in multi-tasking across multiple screens and devices. 


The digital age has changed the way we work, learn, shop, socialise and relax; however, our eyes are not accustomed to the changes of the modern age and it is taking a toll on many of us.  The proliferation of devices and growing usage rates creates the question; how will our vision adapt to our relatively newfound habits?

Digital Eye Strain is the physical eye discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen.

Symptoms can include; eye strain, dry/itchy/burning or red eyes, blurred vision, headache or neck/shoulder/back pain.

So how are smart phones, tablets, computers and multi device use causing digital eye strain?

  • Our eyes are focusing more intensively, switching frequently between devices and adjusting to increasingly smaller, pixelated characters;
  • The smartphone has created a new ‘ultra near’ vision zone, placing even greater demands on our eyes;
  • The normal blinking rate is often reduced from 16 or more blinks a minute to 6-10 blinks, affecting tear production;
  • Digital devices are backlit and emit blue light, causing eye strain as well as being linked to disrupted sleeping patterns;
  • Posture is changing as we lean towards screens or slouch in chairs, placing additional strain on the neck and back.

Digital use lenses eliminate glare, filter out blue light and prevent vision fatigue and the good news is that we can help both prescription wearers and non-prescription wearers.  We can also recommend eye exercises, adjust device settings and suggest an environment that will help the symptoms.

Staff at Beckenham Optometrist are urging people, regardless of whether they currently wear glasses, to take the time and recognise whether they have digital eye strain symptoms.  Understanding the impact of digital device usage on an individual’s eyes is one aspect that our optometrists will discuss with you as part of the practice’s thorough 360° comprehensive eye consultation.