Blink and Other Ways to Prevent Screen Fatigue

Blink and Other Ways to Prevent Screen Fatigue

Posted on Feb.27, 2014, under Eye Conditions, Eye Health, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info, Low Vision Tips, The Eye

Even though we have found some good reading aids for my 87 year old father-in-law (who has wet AMD) that allow him to read, he still complains that his eyes felt irritated , strained and sore after 30 minutes of reading. At his last eye appointment he shared his symptoms with his ophthalmologist. “Oh, that’s easy enough to explain. You are not blinking.” My father-in-law thought about it, and he recognized that indeed it was true. When he looked at his reading screen, he was concentrating and focusing so much on making out the words and following the story or article that he failed to blink. So the next time he sat down to read his electronic book, he made an effort to blink more often and to close his eyes a little bit longer than normal. To his surprise, this time after 30″ of reading, he didn’t experience the eye strain or dryness that he normally felt.

According to Gary Heiting, OD and Senior Editor of All About Vision, “When working at a computer, people blink less frequently — about one-third as often as they normally do — and many blinks performed during computer work are only partial lid closures…”  For different reasons whether we are using a computer, iPad, Kindle or other type of screen, we will often find ourselves just staring at the screen in front of us.  As more and more people with low vision turn to different types of screens for reading – whether it is a computer screen, a CCTV magnifying screen, or an electronic book reader, like the Kindle, it is very common to develop symptoms of computer eye strain. Some of the common symptoms of screen fatigue are:

Red, dry, irritated eyes

Eyes feel scratchy

Eyes that water

Burning sensation

Blurred vision

Eyes feel tired or sore

Why is blinking so important? Blinking creates tears that moisten the eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.  The more we blink the more we lubricate our eyes.  And it’s not only how often we blink but how long we blink.  One eye specialist recommends that, “Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). This will help rewet your eyes.”

Computer Vision Syndrome is the name of the eye condition associated with the above symptoms.  Eye doctors often see it along with Dry Eyes.  Blinking more often and for longer may just be what the doctor orders.

For more suggestions on how to prevent computer eye strain go to:

Computer Eye Fatigue


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN