Vision Therapy in St. Cloud

The Connection Between Screen Time and Dry Eye

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Alleviating Digital Eye Strain for Comfortable Vision

Do your eyes feel dry, irritated, or fatigued after a lengthy day spent scrolling through social media, tackling a barrage of emails, or streaming your favorite content? If so, you might be wondering whether screen time could be the culprit behind these discomforts.

Indeed, while digital devices have brought convenience, they've also introduced a new challenge for eye health: digital eye strain, which is often accompanied by dry eye symptoms.

boy playing VR game


Understanding Digital Eye Strain and Its Link to Dry Eyes

woman using mobile phone

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a condition that arises when you spend extended periods gazing at screens. Its symptoms include dry eyes, fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches.

Several factors contribute to dry eyes during prolonged screen use:

  • Reduced Blink Rate

    While focusing on screens, people tend to blink less frequently. This reduced blink rate can lead to reduced tear production and increased tear evaporation, resulting in dry eyes.

  • Blue Light Exposure

    Digital screens emit blue light, disrupting the circadian rhythm. Disrupted sleep, in turn, can contribute to dry eye symptoms.

  • Poor Posture

    Incorrect screen placement or poor posture can cause you to open your eyes wider, increasing exposure to air and tear evaporation.

  • Reduced Blink Quality

    Frequent screen time can lead to incomplete blinks, where the upper and lower eyelids do not meet fully, causing inadequate tear film spreading and reduced oil secretion from meibomian glands.


The Effects of Excessive Screen Time on Children's Eyes

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a condition that arises when you spend extended periods gazing at screens. Its symptoms include dry eyes, fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches.

Several factors contribute to dry eyes during prolonged screen use:

  • Eye Fatigue and Discomfort

    Excessive screen time can lead to eye fatigue, causing discomfort, reduced vision clarity, and headaches. Children may also lose interest in activities like reading due to eye strain .

  • Dry and Irritated Eyes

    Long screen sessions can result in dry and irritated eyes, as prolonged screen focus reduces blinking frequency. Maintaining a stable tear film on the eye's surface is crucial for clear vision, especially for children adapting to screens designed for adults.

  • Reduced Focus Flexibility

    Children who spend extended periods focusing on screens may struggle to adjust to distance vision afterward. Although this is usually a short-term issue, it highlights the importance of balanced screen time and outdoor activities.

  • Risk of Developing Myopia

    Excessive indoor screen time deprives children of essential natural daylight exposure, impacting their eye development. Studies suggest a link between increased indoor time and a higher risk of nearsightedness (myopia) in children. Balancing screen use with outdoor play is crucial for healthy eyes.

woman viewing tablet in bed


Treating Dry Eyes Caused by Screen Time

Dry eyes induced by excessive screen use may range from mild to severe, with severe cases potentially leading to permanent eye surface damage. Therefore, it's essential to take steps to alleviate these symptoms.

If you're someone who spends a considerable amount of time in front of screens, you can adopt several strategies to reduce the risk of digital eye strain and dry eyes:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20-second break to focus on something at least 20 feet away.
  • Adjust Screen Settings: Modify the font size, brightness, and blue light emission to create a more comfortable viewing experience.
  • Proper Lighting: Ensure your screen is not overly bright, and your surroundings are well-lit.
  • Blink More: Always remember to blink regularly to keep your eyes moist.
  • Stay Hydrated: Maintaining adequate hydration can help support tear production.

Use Artificial Tears: Lubricating eye drops can relieve dry eyes while using screens.

Patient Reviews
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244 Reviews
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- Apr. 23, 2024
Very kind, patient, helpful and I never have to wait long to get in.
- Mar. 30, 2024
The team's professionalism is exceeded only by their commitment to total customer satisfaction! Rod... Pederson
- Feb. 06, 2024
Professional and friendly staff.
- Nov. 02, 2023
Really great experience! New glasses came in super fast & dr.kim was super nice and kind
- Oct. 26, 2023
I had an excellent eye exam with Dr. Watson. She was careful to explain each step in the evaluation ... and she carefully answered all the questions I had. I will definitely be staying under her care.
- Oct. 26, 2023
Been receiving care at Northway Eye for over 10 years…great care.
- Jul. 20, 2023
Great staff who are friendly and knowledgeable. Bonus...NOT a CentraDONTCare affiliate.
- Jul. 06, 2023
Examination by D Matthew Andeson, assisted by Jen, office Megan and eyeglasses Sarah. The examinati... on was thorough, and answered any questions I might have had. The staff was helpful in submission of a referal to a surgeon, and in selecting glasses frames. The cost was very low in comparison to dentist and doctor exams, no one should feel denied this excellent exam for financial reasons. Thank you.
- Jun. 12, 2023
They're super nice and helpful. Thank you!
- May. 27, 2023
Friendly and knowledgeable people
- May. 25, 2023
Love the people! Environment is fun, clean and professional. I would recommend to others!
- May. 05, 2023
excellent service and very friendly and helpful
- Apr. 03, 2023
Dr. Watson and her staff are always pleasant and professional.
- Mar. 26, 2023
Dr Matthew was super friendly and knowledgeable. Great experience
- Mar. 16, 2023
very nice
- Mar. 04, 2023
I have been coming here since 2020 and have had a pleasant experience each time. Everyone here is so... professional, cheerful and kind. I had to reschedule due to a snow storm and they happily obliged. Everything was clean and beautifully decorated.. the waiting area was elegant and comfortable. I brought my three little children with to my appointment. Doctor Watson answered all of their eager questions with such kindness. They can't wait to get their eyes checked by her, too.
- Feb. 10, 2023
Great doctor and great staff!
- Jan. 25, 2023
Highly recommend
- Jan. 23, 2023
OK
- Jan. 13, 2023
Dr. Sufka is the best!

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Dry Eyes in St. Cloud

Our optometry practice in St. Cloud

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Hours
  • Monday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thursday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Consult Northway Eye & Contact Lenses Center for Digital Eye Strain Relief

Although lifestyle changes can be helpful, more effective dry eye management strategies may be necessary in some cases. Northway Eye & Contact Lenses Center provides a range of treatments to restore your family's eyesight.

If you or a loved one suffers from ongoing dry eye symptoms due to prolonged screen use, our experienced eye care professionals can provide relief. Make an appointment with Northway Eye & Contact Lenses Center to discuss dry eye management options. Let's work together to protect their eyesight and ensure a bright future.

(320) 253-2441