Find out how you can avoid eye damage from computer screens and devices.

Sitting behind a desk and staring at a computer screen all day can be tiring for your eyes. Are screens bad for eyes? In a word: yes. But when you use a computer or tablet for work, it can be hard to find time to give your eyes the rest they need. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to limit eye damage from computer screens.

To learn more about eye health and eye damage from computer screens, visit the UPMC Eye Center or call 412-647-2200.

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Eyestrain and Computer Vision Syndrome

It’s not surprising that people who spend a lot of time at the computer develop eyestrain or eye damage from computer screens. The American Optometric Association estimates that the average businessperson spends up to seven hours a day looking at a digital screen.

If you begin to develop eye problems from using digital screens, there’s a chance you have computer vision syndrome (CVS), a specific kind of eyestrain that can develop from spending too much time looking at any type of digital screen. Symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, and dry eyes. While CVS is often temporary, you can avoid it by following a few simple tips.

How to Prevent Eye Damage from Computer Screens

For optimal eye health and to prevent eyestrain from worsening, here are some tips for busy professionals.

Take a break

Just like it’s important to stand up and stretch your muscles during the work day, it’s equally important to give your eyes a rest. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Glance up from your screen every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away, and do so for about 20 seconds. This simple practice gives your eyes a break and can reduce eye damage from a digital screen.

Blink often

When you’re working at a computer screen, looking at your phone, or even watching a movie, you blink less often. This means your eyes dry out faster than normal, which contributes to poor eye health. If you find yourself staring at a screen for long periods of time, try closing your eyes for several seconds. And use eye drops to help keep your eyes hydrated throughout the day.

Adjust the screen brightness setting

One of the best things you can do for your eye health is to adjust screen brightness since that harsh, blue light is bad for eyes. Make sure your screen is no brighter than the room or setting you are in to reduce glare and can help prevent CVS.

You may want to consider using special computer glasses designed to reduce the amount of blue light that enters your eyes and soften the glare from your screen.

Make an appointment for an eye exam

CVS, or any form of eyestrain, typically goes away once you give your eyes a rest. If you find the symptoms are not improving or you are concerned about your eye health, make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. Your doctor will be able to tell if you’re experiencing CVS or a different eye condition that requires treatment.

To learn more about eye health and eye damage from computer screens, visit the UPMC Eye Center or call 412-647-2200.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About UPMC Vision Institute

The UPMC Vision Institute is a national leader in the treatment of eye diseases and disorders. We seek to improve and restore your vision to help your quality of life, diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions in both children and adults. Our treatments include both surgical and nonsurgical options. We also offer routine eye screenings and have full-scale optical shops. Find an eye expert close to you.