The Digital Age Dilemma: Protecting Your Eyes from Screen Time Strain

While there are so many amazing things that come with the digital age, there’s one issue that’s often overlooked for the sake of convenience - eye strain.

Whether you’re spending all day on a laptop or desktop for work, catching up with friends and strangers on your favorite social media channels or kicking back on the weekend to binge your go-to streaming show, it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending too much time with digital screens.

And while the effects of digital screen time may not be immediately obvious, they can come later with a ferocity that will leave you feeling stuck. From the dreaded headaches to burning eyes to blurry vision, the symptoms of eye strain that can come with extended screen time is not to be taken lightly.

Although research in this area is relatively new, many studies have shown that excessive screen time can have potentially damaging effects on the health and functionality of our eyes.

If you’ve experienced screen time strain and are interested in learning more about what it really is and how to prevent it, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a quick breakdown of how screens affect our eyes and some of the easiest ways to fight back against digital screen strain. Keep reading to discover more.

How Screens Affect Our Eyes

Before we jump into how you can keep your eyes adequately protected from dreaded screen time strain, let’s get better acquainted with just how screens affect our eyes.

When we stare at a screen, regardless if we’re watching a video or reading an email, our eyes are being exposed to what’s known as ‘blue light.’ Blue light contains high-energy rays that easily permeate the barriers of the eyes, which can cause strain and discomfort.

In addition to potential issues from blue light, exposure to screens leads to a natural decrease in blinking, which can cause dryness and irritation in the eyes. All in all, extended exposure to blue light and screens in general can cause a myriad of symptoms relating to eye strain, including headaches or migraines, nausea and dryness. 

Easy Ways to Protect Your Eyes from Screen Time Strain

Now that we’ve nailed down just how screens can affect the health and functionality of your eyes, let’s talk about how you can keep them protected from dreaded screen time strain.

Limit Your Screen Time

We’ll start things off with the simplest, yet most difficult, method of protecting your eyes - limiting your screen time. While this may seem easy to implement, the truth of the matter is that we are constantly surrounded by screens for both personal and professional purposes.

If we’re not texting on our phones, we’re on the computer sending emails for work or kicking back on the couch with the TV on. Even gyms nowadays will have TVs throughout or on machines to keep you entertained as you work out! It can be tough to get away from screens now that they are such an integral part of our everyday lives.

If you’re interested in limiting your screen time, install a tracking app on your phone or laptop, or use its built-in features to see how much time you are actually spending on the device. Try lowering your usage by small amounts week over week in order to make the most effective long-term change.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

One easy method of preventing eye strain from blue light is by swapping out your standard prescription eyeglasses lenses for blue light lenses. These innovative lenses are a recent development in the world of optometry, with unique technology contained within the lenses that naturally filter out harmful blue light. And the best part?

You can opt for blue light lenses, even if you wear prescription eyeglasses! Next time you visit your optometrist, ask if they have these lenses available to slip into your next pair of stylish prescription eyeglasses.

Keep Your Eyes Hydrated

Another easy yet often overlooked method of keeping your eyes protected from screen strain is to simply keep them hydrated. As we mentioned before, staring at screens naturally causes us to blink less than normal. Counterbalance this effect by making sure that you keep hydrating eye drops on hand to remoisturize the eyes as needed. We’d recommend using them at least once per hour in order to keep your eyes adequately hydrated.

Make Sure Your Prescription is Up to Date

It may feel like something that goes without saying, but one potential cause of digital eye strain can be that you aren’t wearing the right lenses in your favorite pair of designer prescription eyeglasses.

If you’re not wearing the proper prescription, your eyes will need to do more work in order to see the screen properly, leading to more strain and your eyes become tired more quickly. By regularly visiting your optometrist and keeping your prescription up to date, you can make sure that your eyes are set up for success before you even pull up a digital screen.


While using digital screens has quickly become an essential part of our everyday lives, they can potentially cause harmful eye strain accompanied by headaches, nausea and dry eyes.

Keep your eyes adequately protected against the potentially harmful effects of extended screen use through limiting your screen time when possible, opting for blue light lenses, keeping your eyes feeling hydrated and making sure your prescription is up to date with your optometrist. 

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