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Headaches? Eyestrain? It could be Digital Eye Strain.

More and more of our lives are spent on the computer with increasing visual demands.

And yes, that smart phone counts as a computer! It’s no wonder why more and more people are experiencing headaches, eye strain, visual fatigue, and other symptoms. Computer Vision Syndrome (or Digital Eye Strain) is definitely becoming more of a problem as we become more “connected”. And look, you are using a digital device to read about it!

Comprehensive Eye Examinations

This is precisely why the doctors at Vision Source Mandan focus on comprehensive eye examinations. There is so much that goes into your vision! Just a few examples of “beyond 20/20” requirements for vision:

  • Accommodation – For anything that is 6 feet or closer to you, your eyes will need to engage the focusing system (accommodation) to see it clearly. The closer the object is, the more it needs to work. If you have a problem with facility (switching from near to far, or far to near) or are insufficient, it can result in blurred vision or visual symptoms.
  • Convergence and divergence – When you look at something close to you, your eyes will need to converge (turn inward) to both look at the object. If you switch your gaze to something far away, your eyes need to diverge (turn outward to a parallel position) to look into the distance. If you have a problem with the eye muscles that are responsible for these movements, it can result in double vision or other visual strain symptoms.
  • Visual perception – Your eyes are like a pair of cameras. They are taking in an image. It is the responsibility of your brain to interpret the image and make decisions with it. If there is an issue with cortical processing, things such as depth perception can be negatively impacted.
  • Eye tracking – For example, when you read your eyes have to accurately move across the letters in the words that make up sentences. They also have to accurately jump to the next line when you finish a previous line. If your eye movements are not accurate (specifically, pursuit and saccade eye movements) it can create great difficulty with comprehension.
  • And so much more!

How do electronic devices impact my eyes?

With heightened visual demands due to electronic devices (computers, tablets, smart phones, etc), many folks may find they have eye strain or fatigue when they previously did not before. These devices do make your visual system work harder.

If there is a problem with some aspect of the visual system, it makes it more apparent when the visual demand is increased.

Depending on what the exact problem is, there may be different approaches to treatment. While you may not need a glasses prescription and you can see 20/20 with ease, there may be other areas that need to be addressed to fix the visual discomfort.

There are even specialty eyeglass lenses available specifically to combat Computer Vision Syndrome. In our office, we have EyeZen lenses. They help reduce strain on your eyes by giving a “booster” to your accommodation system. They also help protect your eye health by reducing the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes.


Talk to your eye doctor!

If you are experiencing any uncomfortable visual problems, make sure you express them to your optometrist at Vision Source Mandan so they can be addressed, discovered and fixed!


Top image by Flickr user miniyo73 (location) used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharelike 4.0 License. Image has been cropped and modified from original. Image rights state commercial use and modifications allowed when image was obtained on 03/28/2017.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.