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Can too much screen time cause dry eyes?

It's not a coincidence that when you spend too many hours on your computer, your eyes become dry and itchy. If you already have dry eyes, the stresses of digital screens in this modern life can aggravate your condition.


CALMO® Eye Spray on a table-top with several electronic gadgets.

If your eyes are continuously dry, red, and irritated, you should seek treatment from an optometrist. Understanding how screen time impacts your vision, on the other hand, is critical to maintaining your eyes healthy despite technological demands. When you overlook the proper safeguards and tactics, computer work might aggravate dry eyes.


What is Computer Vision Syndrome?


Computer vision syndrome (CVS) refers to the harmful impact that digital displays have on our visual health. This disorder, also referred to as digital eye strain, worsens as one spends more time staring at desktops. The symptoms are as follows:

  • Dry eyes

  • Strain on the eyes

  • Blurry vision

  • Headaches

  • Neck and back pain

  • Exhaustion


What is dry eye?


Dry eye disease (DED) affects millions of adults today. It happens when your eyes fail to keep themselves hydrated due to a lack of tear production. Tears offer the nutrition and moisture required by the eyes to be healthy and pleasant. When teardrop production is impaired, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Stinging pain

  • Redness of the eyes

  • Vision blur

  • Mucus-like debris in the eyes

  • Tired eyes

  • Wet eyes


Causes of dry eye


Continuous exposure to digital screens might exaggerate the symptoms of someone suffering from chronic dry eye. Although screen time isn't usually the core cause of dry eye illness, it certainly doesn't help. The following can be the original cause of dry eye:

  • Blepharitis (swelling in eyelids)

  • Refractive surgery on the eyes (LASIK)

  • Climates that are smoky, windy, or extremely dry

  • Certain drugs, such as those used to treat allergies, heart issues, antidepressants, and diuretics

  • Existing illnesses, such as thyroid dysfunction and lupus

  • Women's hormonal alterations after menopause

The most effective strategy to find a solution is to address the underlying cause of your dry eyes. Your optometrists check your eyes and evaluate your medical history to determine why you have dry eyes on a frequent basis. Make an appointment for a Dry Eye Exam and take the first step toward clear, comfortable vision.


Screen time and evaporative dry eye disease


Tears evaporate too quickly, which is one of the explanations your eyes may feel dry. This is owing to the tears' insufficient lipid layer. The lipid layer prevents natural evaporation by acting as an oily barrier. Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) occurs when glands in your eyelids cannot produce this lipid layer, resulting in evaporative dry eye (EDE).


According to studies, extended computer use and exposure to digital displays can influence how rapidly our tears evaporate. When tears evaporate too quickly, our eyes become dry. The primary cause of enhanced evaporation is that we blink 66% less when we use a computer than when performing other daily tasks.


How to manage screen related dry eye?


Knowing that excessive screen time worsens the symptoms of dry eye illness will help you help yourself. Some of the measures listed below can help you lessen the effects of CVS. If your dry eyes worsen or the symptoms persist, you should schedule a Dry Eye Exam with us.


Blink Frequently


When using a computer, most individuals blink less. During normal tasks, the average human blinks 15–20 times every minute. When you are focused on a digital display, this can drop to merely 5 times per minute. So, to keep your eyes from drying out, remember to blink every few seconds!


Stay Hydrated


Keeping hydrated is usually a good idea, particularly if you have dry eyes. Drinking 2–4 litres of water every day is suggested, depending on your weight and size. A lack of water can aggravate dry eye symptoms, so stay hydrated while using the computer.

The 20-20-20 Rule

Here's a simple tip to help your eyes recover while working on a computer screen. After every 20 minutes, consider taking a 20-second break, and concentrate on something 20 feet away. This trick will provide your eyes with some much-needed break from looking at devices in front of you.

Improve Your Air Quality

While working on a computer, having the proper air environment might assist prevent dry eye symptoms. Keep in mind that air conditioners reduce the amount of moisture in the air. When you anticipate a lot of screen time, try turning down the AC. If you frequently get dry eyes when using your laptop, consider purchasing a humidifier.

Remove Your Contacts

Wearing contact lenses for extended periods in front of digital devices may aggravate your dry eyes. Wearing contacts produces a barrier that makes it more difficult for oxygen to reach the surface of the eye. Because we blink less often in front of a display, contact lenses might cause your eyes to feel dry. Consider wearing glasses if your screen time is becoming excessive.


Balance your vision and your routine


It's natural for the eyes to feel dry after staring at a computer or phone for extended periods of time. Dry eyes can be caused by a variety of factors, but we frequently experience increasing discomfort after prolonged use of our digital devices. Identifying digital eye strain as a cause of dry eyes will help you try to prevent it.


Too much screen time can result in insufficient tear production in your eyes. It is a naive to assume that dry eyes will "simply go away." Instead, schedule a Dry Eye Exam with one of our optometrists.


Finding the source of your dry eyes is the quickest method to use all of your screens comfortably and painlessly.

 

Disclaimer


This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. CandorVision disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.


The information contained on this website does not establish, nor does it imply, a doctor-patient relationship. CandorVision does not offer this information for diagnostic purposes. A diagnosis must not be assumed based on the information provided.

 

References


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