Digital Eye Strain

Today’s technology: the good, the bad, and the fatiguing

Everywhere you look, technology is the new paradigm—both for our productivity and our relaxation.

The average person logs hours a day on all types of electronic devices: smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and of course, computers. This technology makes high visual demands on our eyes, so that they have to work harder than usual. The result can be what’s known as Digital Eye Strain, or Computer Fatigue Syndrome.


Digital eye strain from prolonged screen time can cause eye discomfort (which appears to be proportionate to the length of screen exposure) and vision problems.

Symptoms include:

  • eyestrain
  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • dry eyes
  • neck and shoulder pain

It is important to note, however, that you can experience digital eye strain and not recognize the symptoms—they may appear normal and natural. This is a great example of why regular checkups with Dr. Pelletier are so important.

What you can do

Although digital eye strain should be diagnosed and treated by an eye doctor, there are some important lifestyle modifications that can help. One of the most important is the “20-20-20” rule: look away from the screen every 20 minutes to look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. We have created “20-20-20” bookmarks to remind you about this smart trick—remember to get yours at your next visit.

Updated eyewear aids prevention

Having the right eyewear prescription can also be very important when using digital devices. Uncorrected or even under-corrected vision issues contribute significantly to digital eye strain risk. In addition, updating your eyewear prescription is a good opportunity to add protection from blue-light emissions from these devices. Our BluTech lens option substantially filters dangerous blue light from these devices, and helps prevent permanent damage to the eyes. This protection can be key in avoiding macular degeneration, which causes partial blindness and has no cure.

Dr. Pelletier feels that blue light emissions are a critical new health issue for his patients to understand and protect against.

For more information

To learn more about digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome, visit the American Optometric Association’s page HERE and talk to Dr. Pelletier or our helpful opticians.