Brighton Eyecare
303 Stonebridge Blvd Suite #1 Saskatoon SK S7T 0C7 (306) 664-2638

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Saskatoon, SK / 306.978.2993

Digital Eye Strain

A 21st Century Problem

Your day probably includes spending time in front of some sort of screen. Whether it’s during work hours, your personal time, or both, it is fair to assume that you will be exposed to at least one digital display at some point during your day.

One study found that the average Canadian spends approximately 11 hours a day with a screen of some description.

However, this high level of digital interaction comes at a cost. Research indicates that at least 50% of computer users suffer from computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain.

Of course, computers and mobile devices are not going anywhere. Learning to mitigate the effects of digital eye strain is important so you can balance your eye health with advancing technology.

Request an appointment to discuss your digital eye strain symptoms with an optometrist.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Symptoms of digital eye strain may include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck & back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty keeping eyes open
  • Dryness
  • Periods of excessive tears
  • Itching, burning, or stinging eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Poor concentration

Potential Causes of Digital Eye Strain

There is some debate about the source of digital eye strain and why digital displays seem to cause more strain than other close work like reading and writing on paper.

Because the technology is so new, it’s too early for scientists to know exactly how it affects us. However, there are 2 major theories that may explain the cause of digital eye strain.

Blue Light

LCD screens like computers, smartphones, and tablets emit a specific frequency of light called blue light. Blue light scatters more than most types of visible light, which makes it harder for your eye to focus and interpret.

Some researchers believe that, since our eyes have to work harder to focus blue light, it is a major contributing factor to digital eye strain.

Near work, or focusing on something close-up, is difficult for our eyes to maintain. Our eyes evolved to change focus points regularly and look at objects from a variety of distances. Forcing our eyes to focus at close range for several is very tiring.

Too much near work will make your eyes tired eventually, regardless of what you’re working on. However, some scientists believe that our eyes get tired of digital displays faster because we hold them closer.

The average ideal reading distance is approximately 16 inches or 40 centimetres. However, the average user holds their smartphone approximately between approximately 13-30 centimetres away (5-12 inches) from their face when reading a web page while sitting.

Some researchers believe that digital eye strain develops as a result of excessive near work and holding our devices far too close.

Mitigating the Effects of Digital Eye Strain

Computer Glasses

Even if you do not need glasses to see clearly, you may benefit from computer glasses. Most computer glasses can reduce glare, filter out blue light, and improve contrast. The idea is to create the ideal conditions for your eyes, reducing stressors and allowing you to work more comfortably.

The scientific community is split on the value of computer glasses. However, there is some evidence to indicate that a pair of computer glasses could reduce digital eye strain symptoms.

Setting up an eye-friendly workstation can help reduce your digital eye strain symptoms and overall wellness.

First, ensure your monitor is clearly visible. Keep it free of dust and position it to avoid glare as much as possible. The top of your screen should be just below your eye level and about an arm’s length away.

Finally, your screen brightness and room lighting should be balanced. Avoid working in a dim room with a bright screen, as this can overwork your eyes.

Remember to take breaks! The 20/20/20 rule is an easy way to remind you.

Every 20 minutes or so, find an object that’s about 20 feet away from you and stare at it for 20 seconds. Allowing your eyes to focus on different distances is the ocular equivalent to getting up to stretch your legs.

Visit Our Office

Brighton Eyecare is conveniently located in Brighton Marketplace just off McCormond Drive, between Save on Foods and The Keg.


Suite #90, 145 Gibson Bend
Saskatoon, SK, S7V 0V2

Contact Number

Phone: 306.978.2993
After Hours Emergencies: 306-371-9911
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 306-978-2990

Hours of Operation

Monday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 12 PM - 8 PM
Friday: 8 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (with the exception of long weekends)
Sunday: Closed

We understand that life is busy, and it isn’t always convenient to take time out of your workday to visit your optometrist. To help serve you better, we offer Saturday appointments and have extended hours on Thursdays.

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