5 Tips to Help Reduce Digital Eye Strain

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How many hours a day do you spend staring at a screen? An hour? Three to four hours? More? According to recent findings from The Vision Council, 60% of Americans spend five or more hours a day with their eyes fixed on a smartphone, tablet, or computer screen*.

And why wouldn’t they? Today’s world runs on digital. From the living room to the board room, we rely on our devices to stay informed, connect with others, and in many cases, earn a living.  Mobile devices and computers deliver countless benefits. However, they can also serve up a less beneficial side effect.

Many digital devices and computer monitors emit blue light, and blue light exposure can contribute to digital eye strain. Here’s why: After blue light enters your eyes it scatters. Your eyes then have to work extra hard to focus that scattered light. In other words, your peepers are putting in overtime on a daily basis, which can contribute to repetitive eye strain and associated headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes.

Device use isn’t likely to dwindle any time soon and you’re probably more likely to hand over the keys to your car than your smartphone. Therefore, it’s vital to find other ways to cut back on your blue light intake.  Consider the following five ways to reduce your blue light exposure and decrease the potential onset of digital eye strain.


1. Ask the expert (your eye doctor!)
An annual trip to the eye doctor is critical for the entire family (especially children). Ask your VSP eye doctor about the best options to help you or your children reduce eye strain, whether that’s in the form of computer vision or blue light lenses. Even if you don’t wear corrective lenses, some blue light coatings can be applied to non-prescription eyewear.

2. Observe the 20-20-20 rule
Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes and spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away. Also, blinking more often helps to moisten your eyes, which may help reduce visual discomfort.

3. Maintain your digital distance
Find a comfortable working distance from your screen. This is especially important for children since the intensity of light increases exponentially the closer our eyes are to the source. Children have shorter arms and therefore receive a more intense dose of blue light from devices. Children should hold devices as far away from their eyes as is comfortable. Adults are encouraged to hold devices at arm’s length

4. Dim the lights
Turn down the brightness level of device screens to reduce the amount of blue light exposure, especially during the evening hours. Additionally, as LED and CFL lighting also emit blue light, it would be a good idea to dim those at home or work if possible.

5. There’s an app for that
A number of apps are also available to help reduce blue light emission from devices.


* The Vision Council, EYES OVEREXPOSED: The Digital Dilemma, 2016, PDF



  • Carlos says:

    Thank you for the tips. Will take them into consideration

  • N L says:

    Please notify ALL businesses of this!

    Many of us work more than four hours at a time and have to work at computers for all of it.

  • Susan White says:

    Where can you purchase these Blue light Blocking glasses??

  • Susan White says:

    where do you get the Blue Light Blocking Glasses??

  • Susan White says:

    Let me know by email

  • great info for me I really like this info thanks

  • Alexis says:

    Very useful information, and confirmation..I need to visit my Optometrist soon!

  • Mike says:

    My employer has replaced all overhead lighting with led. It’s blinding. Is there a standard for lighting intesty I can reference. I’ve searched but found very little. Several coworkers have opted to wear ball caps to shade their eys. Thanks

  • PBruton says:

    Thanks for the info on the 20-20 and the digital distance. I tried it and it appears to help.

  • Barb says:

    I will try the 20-20 rule!

  • Annette Boyer says:

    gonna use the 20-20 rule, thanks

  • nigel says:

    You suggest dimming LEDs but this article does not mention the issue of reducing LED backlight intensity which can be a source of flicker. This article explains this issue in detail.


  • Theresa says:

    Great tips to consider!

  • tinzac says:

    does the eye strain come from the act of trying to focus on something that emits the blue light (like print from a backlit device or monitor), or the blue light itself? I’m wondering since saltwater aquariums that keep coral have high power lighting within the bad blue range (large aquariums can have high wattage of blue lights to keep the corals alive). So is being in a room with a fixture emitting very high blue light but you aren’t focusing on it more harmful since it is high power?

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  • Xxavier says:

    Good info. A product i use is called Natures Tears eyemist ive found it helps releave eye eratation from stairing at a monitor all day.

  • […] blue light your child is receiving. Blue light emitted by various devices can contribute to digital eye strain in as little as two hours of screen time. So be sure to ask the doctor about reducing blue light […]

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