Do computer screens cause dry eyes?

by | May 31, 2023 | Eye Health

Computer, phone or tablet use could be giving you dry eyes.

If you’re finding that your eyes feel sore and tired after you’ve been at the computer for a while, it might be due to dry eyes.

When you look at a computer, phone or tablet screen, watch television or even read books, your blink rate decreases. When you blink, the wiping action of the lid lubricates your eye. If you are blinking less, the wiping doesn’t happen enough to keep your eye lubricated.

When you’re staring at a screen, you might also not be blinking completely. Each blink might be only partial. But the oils that form part of the lubricating film are only secreted if your eyelid closes completely. If your blinks are only partial, the glands don’t release this ‘meibum’. Without enough oil, the tear layer evaporates too quickly, leaving your eye surface dry.

All of which leads to tired and red eyes.

As much as we might try to reduce screen time, it’s not always an option. Screens are here to stay as part of our working and leisure lives. The solution then is to find a way to improve our blinking when we’re stuck in front of a screen.

Fortunately, it’s not too difficult.

Try these tips to prevent dry eyes with computer or phone use:

If you’re using a computer, put a piece of blu tack on one of the keys. Every time you hit that key, it will remind you to close your eyes for a moment.

Do blinking exercises to train your eyes to blink completely. A simple blinking exercise is close your eyes for two seconds, hold for two seconds, force them tightly closes for two seconds, then open again. Repeat this frequently throughout the day.

Install an app, such as the Korb blink app, on your phone, which can be set to prompt you to do blinking exercises.

To sum it up…Stop and Think: Did I Blink?

With improved blinking, you can mitigate the effects of screen use on your eyes and come away with healthier, happier eyes.

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