Management of digital eye strain

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Digital eye strain, an emerging public health issue, is a condition characterised by visual disturbance and/or ocular discomfort related to the use of digital devices and resulting from a range of stresses on the ocular environment. This review aims to provide an overview of the extensive literature on digital eye strain research with particular reference to the clinical management of symptoms. As many as 90 per cent of digital device users experience symptoms of digital eye strain. Many studies suggest that the following factors are associated with digital eye strain: uncorrected refractive error (including presbyopia), accommodative and vergence anomalies, altered blinking pattern (reduced rate and incomplete blinking), excessive exposure to intense light, closer working distance, and smaller font size. Since a symptom may be caused by one or more factors, a holistic approach should be adopted. The following management strategies have been suggested: (i) appropriate correction of refractive error, including astigmatism and presbyopia; (ii) management of vergence anomalies, with the aim of inducing or leaving a small amount of heterophoria (˜1.5Δ Exo); (iii) blinking exercise/training to maintain normal blinking pattern; (iv) use of lubricating eye drops (artificial tears) to help alleviate dry eye-related symptoms; (v) contact lenses with enhanced comfort, particularly at end-of-day and in challenging environments; (vi) prescription of colour filters in all vision correction options, especially blue light-absorbing filters; and (vii) management of accommodative anomalies. Prevention is the main strategy for management of digital eye strain, which involves: (i) ensuring an ergonomic work environment and practice (through patient education and the implementation of ergonomic workplace policies); and (ii) visual examination and eye care to treat visual disorders. Special consideration is needed for people at a high risk of digital eye strain, such as computer workers and contact lens wearers.

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