It’s estimated that over 60% of Canadians experience some variety of digital eye strain. Generally referred to as the discomfort experienced after two or more hours in front of a digital display, digital eye strain’s symptoms are similar to those of other conditions.
Length of time in front of the screen plays a big factor in digital eye strain, as does exposure to high-energy visible light (HEV). HEV light refers to wavelengths of light that can potentially damage our eyes. We see this in the form of blue light.
Following the 20/20/20 rule when using a computer or smartphone/tablet can greatly reduce the symptoms associated with digital eye strain. The rule is simple: every 20 minutes look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This will “reset” your eye focusing muscles, helping alleviate digital eye strain.
High-energy visible light (HEV) exists in the 380nm – 500nm range of the light spectrum. It is close to ultraviolet light, which ranges from 100nm – 380nm. UV light tans skin and is linked with the development of cataracts2 and other eye diseases.
Blue light falls into the HEV spectrum and is emitted by the sun, computer monitors, smartphone screens, and every other man-made color screen. It may increase the risk of macular degeneration and is known to be a contributing factor for digital eye strain.
The focusing muscles in your eyes have to work hard to focus clearly on a screen- especially if that screen is quite close to the face. The reality is that these muscles are not meant to work for the long stretches of time we demand them to.
When working at a computer, reading, or otherwise concentrating for long periods, be sure to follow the 20/20/20 rule.
First, following the 20/20/20 rule mentioned above is a good way to improve your comfort when concentrating for long periods of time.
Software that filters blue light from the display is available for Windows, Macs, iOS, Andoid, and Windows Phone. We recommend that you install this software on your devices and use them to filter blue light from the display. Many versions of this software will auto-adjust the color balance of the screen in accordance with the time of day and how intense the sun is where you are.
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