Computer Eye Strain


Increased use of desktop computers, laptops, iPads, mobile phones and computer gaming has led to new strains on our eyes. These tasks require our eyes to converge closely and maintain focus for long periods, often leading to focusing problems and symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome (CVS) such as:

  • Tired eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Glare sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Eye twitching
  • Excessive tiredness towards the end of the day

CVS is the most common workplace complaint today – and it’s not exclusive to adults. Millions of children and teenagers spend long hours in front of the computer, which can stress their eyes and may affect normal vision development. Failure to correct this problem in younger people has been shown to cause shortsightedness (myopia).

It is important to have a comprehensive assessment of your focusing and eye coordination abilities so preventative measures can be implemented. Depending on the outcome of the exam, your optometrist may prescribe computer eyeglasses to help your eyes focus on the screen more comfortably. Clinical studies have shown that having the correct prescription in computer eyeglasses increases productivity and accuracy.

Anti-reflective coating is also highly recommended for computer eyeglasses as it reduces reflections on the front and back surfaces of eyeglass lenses that cause glare and interfere with your ability to focus on images on your screen.

As well as wearing the right computer glasses, here are some simple steps you can take to help minimize the impact of CVS:

  • Remember the ‘20-20-20 rule’ – Every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet (6 metres) away.
  • Keep blinking – It washes your eyes in naturally therapeutic tears.
  • Monitor your monitor – Set the screen at least 40cm to 50cm from your eyes (an arm’s length away). Adjust the screen so you look at it slightly downward so your eye height is at the level of the toolbar or top of the screen. Adjust brightness and contrast to comfortable levels.
  • Get the right light – Keep bright lighting overhead to a minimum. Direct your desk lamp to shine on your desk, not you. Try to keep window light off to the side, rather than in front or behind you and use blinds to cut reflective glare.
  • Adjust your posture – For every 2cm forward you lean into your screen there’s 14kg weighing on your neck!
  • Talk to one of our Behavioural Optometrist about your digital demands so that we can customise a solution to your individual needs.