Health & Fitness

What is digital eye strain? ways to prevent it and treatment for it.

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By Dr Varsha Bangarshettar,
Consultant Ophthalmologist,
Ashoka Hospital


Online learning in children and working from home in adults have increased the prevalence of digital eye strain in the Covid era. Adults and children spending 6-8 hours a day in front of screens without any break or care as a result majority of those who use digital screens as a part of their work suffering from digital eye strain. The risk of eye strain increases in direct proportion to the amount of time spent looking at a screen. Mobile computers are harmful to the eyes because they generate short, high-energy waves that can damage everything in the eyes, from the ocular surface to the retinal cells.

Children and adults suffering from digital eye strain may experience foreign body sensations, watering, itching, blurring of vision, and headaches.

Risk Factors:

1. More than five hours of screen exposure.

  1. Using a smartphone instead of a Computer.
  2. Failure to keep an appropriate distance between the screen and the eyes.
  3. Not using gadgets in proper lighting.


  1. Take a short break after using your cellphone for 30 minutes.
  2. During your break, use your index finger to massage your eyes.
  3. Rather than using a smartphone, use a Computer.
  4. Get at least eight hours of sleep.
  5. Take plenty of water.
  6. Use your smartphone in good lighting.
  7. Parents should participate with their children in playing, studying, and making learning enjoyable.


  1. Adequate rest is sufficient.
  2. Consult a local ophthalmologist if symptoms continue for an extended period of time.
  3. Wear protective eyewear and use lubricating eye drops as directed by an ophthalmologist.


In this Covid era, most parents are working from home. It is important to support our children psychologically by engaging with them and encouraging them to give time for their hobbies like drawing, singing, dancing, anything of their interest, as well as educating children regarding the adverse effects of increased mobile usage.

Educate children about covid protocols for safety, such as wearing masks, using sanitiser, maintaining proper social distance, and telling them to educate others who don’t follow them. Reassure children that one day everything will come back to normal like before, and they will be able to go back to school and play with their friends without fear of covid infection.

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