Ask Dr. Wesley: What Are the Effects of Extended Screen Time on Eyes?

These days, most of us have jobs that require staring at computer screens for hours each day. This puts a real strain on our eyes. 

Even if you have never had eye problems before, you may notice “computer vision syndrome” symptoms after staring at the screen for extended periods of time. 

Some common signs of computer vision include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Eye strain and discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Dry, scratchy eyes
  • Neck and/or shoulder pain

Even if your symptoms are mild, they can worsen and cause other vision problems if not addressed. Our optometrists can help.

Treating Computer Vision Syndrome

If you already suffer from pre-existing astigmatism, farsightedness, presbyopia, aging eyes, and/or diabetic eye problems, your computer vision symptoms may worsen. 

Our optometrists take your symptoms, pre-existing conditions, and potential undiagnosed conditions into account as they perform the following eye tests:

  • Visual acuity—which measures the quality of your current vision.
  • Refraction—tests the potential lens prescriptions that would optimize your vision.
  • Focus and eye coordination—tests how well your eyes work together. 

From these measurements, the doctor designs a treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms. This might include a set of specially-designed glasses for wearing during computer work if you have normal vision, and for patients already wearing contacts or glasses, computer-friendly prescriptions are available.

Preventing Computer Vision

 In addition to our treatment options, there are many things we suggest to help your vision:

  • Adjust your monitor. 

Your monitor should be about 15-20 degrees lower than your eye level. Be sure to sit and work with proper posture.

  • Fix your lighting. 

If you can, reposition any lighting (or your computer) to minimize glare and use natural lighting whenever possible.

  • Give your eyes a break. 

The easiest way to avoid computer vision is to reduce the time you spend using screens. Make sure you take regular breaks away from your screen at work; every twenty minutes look at something about twenty feet away for a minute, or get up and walk around. This will help you avoid eye strain and overexposure to blue lights.

  • Blink more frequently to keep your eyes moist. 

Blink exercises require frequency; they should be done every twenty minutes for four to six weeks to be effective. Then, they should be done regularly on an ongoing basis to maintain those results of relief

These lenses offer medical-grade blue-light protection.

Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Our staff at Complete Eye Care of Medina can help treat and prevent your eyes from being damaged by screens. Call us at 763-478-3505 or visit us online at to schedule your exam.