Alleviating Eye Strain from Digital Devices: Tips and Exercises for Relief

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Relief from Computer-Induced Eye Strain:

The Importance of Taking Frequent Breaks

One of the main causes of eye strain is staring at a digital device for too long. This can lead to "accommodative spasm" in the eye muscles, which can be relieved by taking breaks. A good rule of thumb to follow is the "20-20-20 rule" - for every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20-second break and look at something at least 20 feet away. This will give your eye muscles a rest and prevent cramping.

Eliminating Eye Strain through Proper Screen Positioning

The position of your screen can also play a big role in eye strain. For desktop computers and laptops, it's best to have the screen at arm's length. The height of the screen should also be adjusted so that your eyes are not quite at the very top of the screen, but not directly in the middle. If you're watching a movie or playing a video game, having the screen at eye level in the middle of the screen is more comfortable. To reduce glare, make sure that windows and indoor light sources are not reflecting on your screen. 

How to Adjust Your Device Settings To Reduce Eye Strain

You can also adjust the settings on your device to make it easier on your eyes. One way to do this is to increase the font size if it's too small and you find yourself squinting. On a Windows 10 computer, you can press the control button and use the plus or minus buttons to control the font size. On a phone, go to settings and adjust the font accordingly. Another way to adjust the settings is to change the brightness level of your screen. On Windows 10, you can right-click on the home screen, go to display settings, and use the slide bar to adjust the brightness and color. There's also a night mode or blue light setting on Windows 10, Android, and Apple, which reduces the amount of blue wavelength light coming from your device, which can affect your melatonin production and sleep cycle and may contribute to eye strain.

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Combatting Digital Eye Strain: The Importance of Frequent Blinking

When using digital devices, it's common for many of us to blink less often or less fully. This happens because we are highly focused on the computer screen, phone or book, which results in a decrease in our blink rate or quality of our blinking. Typically, our blink rate is around 20 times per minute during a conversation, but it can drop to as low as 4.5 times per minute while using digital devices. To alleviate these symptoms, it's important to be mindful of blinking and make a conscious effort to blink more frequently. Additionally, you can use lubricating eye drops and warm compresses to alleviate the symptoms of dry eye.

Relieving Eye Strain through Eye Exercises: A Practical Guide for Digital Device Users

Relieving Eye Strain through Eye Exercises: A Practical Guide for Digital Device Users

While we typically recommend taking breaks and engaging in outdoor activities to alleviate eye strain, certain eye exercises can also be beneficial. One such exercise is called cupping, where you warm your hands and gently place them over your eyes, creating a dark environment for your eyes to rest in. It is important to not put too much pressure on your eyes and to relax your shoulder and neck muscles while performing this exercise. This technique can serve as a form of relaxation for your eyes, providing relief from the bright lights of digital screens.

Exercise 1: Active Blinking

Objective: Encourage full and complete blinking


  • Spend one minute actively blinking
  • Do 50 full blinks
  • Look in each direction (up, down, left, right, straight) and blink 10 times in each direction
  • Ensure full blinks by placing a finger under your eye near your cheekbone
  • You should feel a gentle brush of your upper eyelashes on your finger when you blink fully

Exercise 2: Eye Squeeze

Objective: Strengthen eyelid muscles


  • Close your eyes normally, pause for 2 seconds, then open them
  • Close your eyes normally again, pause for 2 seconds, then forcefully close them
  • Hold the lids together tightly for 2 seconds, then open both eyes
  • Repeat for 1 minute

Exercise 3: No Movement Blink

Objective: Improve blinking technique


  • Place fingers at the corners of your eyes
  • Blink fully
  • No movement should be felt under your fingers during correct blinking
Don't Let Digital Eye Strain Impact Your Vision and Daily Life: Schedule an Eye Exam Today!

Don't Let Digital Eye Strain Impact Your Vision and Daily Life: Schedule an Eye Exam Today!

Can eye exercises reduce eye strain? 

In some cases exercises and changes in your setup and habits are all you need to reduce the symptoms, however that may not always fix the underlying cause of your symptoms. There are many possible causes for eye strain, for example dry eye disease and eye misalignment are two very common causes for eye strain and will require additional treatment. We always recommend visiting our optometrist to assess the underlying cause of your symptoms so that you can get the relief that you need.   

According to a survey by the American Optometric Association (AOA), a majority of Americans, nearly 2 out of every 3, report experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain. Additionally, the survey found that a significant number of children, specifically 80% of those aged 10-17, report experiencing symptoms digital eye strain (computer vison syndrome).

At Amplify EyeCare, we understand the impact that digital eye strain can have on your vision and daily life. If you are experiencing symptoms such as headaches, blurry vision, or dry eyes, it is important to schedule an eye exam to determine the underlying cause and develop a personalized treatment plan. Our team of experienced optometrists are dedicated to providing the highest quality care and have the latest technology and techniques to address digital eye strain.

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Common Questions

To minimize eye strain while using your phone, adjust the brightness to match your surroundings, increase text size, and follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If symptoms persist, consult with an eye doctor, as they can provide professional advice tailored to your needs.
For eye strain, seeing an optometrist is a wise choice. They specialize in vision therapy and can perform a functional eye exam to pinpoint any underlying issues. Your optometrist will provide personalized recommendations to reduce or eliminate eye strain.
Quick relief from eye strain can often be achieved by taking regular breaks from screens, blinking more often, and using artificial tears if necessary. However, for ongoing relief, it's best to consult an optometrist who can conduct a proper assessment and offer tailored vision therapy if needed.
Regular eye strain may be a sign of computer vision syndrome. It's important to consult an eye doctor, like an optometrist, who can perform a comprehensive functional eye exam to accurately diagnose your condition. If diagnosed, they'll provide appropriate treatments to alleviate your symptoms.

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