Healthy Vision in the Digital Age: Screen Time Challenges

children sitting very close to a laptop screen


  • As part of Healthy Vision Month, focusing on real challenges like screen time and eye health is vital for patients. 
  • Most people spend four to nine hours a day looking at TV, computer, and smartphone screens. 
  • Excessive screen time can cause dry eye, headaches, and poor eye health, leading to loss of vision or conditions like near-sightedness. 
  • Sharing prevention tips with patients, like the 20-20-20 rule and proper ergonomics, can help them minimize the impact of screen usage. 
  • An integrated optometry EHR platform can streamline patient management tasks, helping you provide exceptional eye care in the digital age. 

One of the primary concerns for eye health today is the use of screens, which is hard to escape in our digital-focused society. Children can spend up to four to six hours daily on screens, while teens might use digital devices for as much as nine hours. Adults, who often work on computers and use phones or watch TV at home, might spend even more time on screens.

Excessive screen usage on TVs, phones, and computers can strain the eyes, causing conditions like myopia (near-sightedness) and vision loss. In honor of Healthy Vision Month this May, let’s explore the effects of too much screen time and how to identify and treat conditions early for improved vision health.

The Impact of Screen Time on Vision

Screen time and eye health are interconnected. Excessive screen usage doesn’t cause vision loss, but it can cause reduced acuity, especially given our near-constant exposure to digital screens.

When you spend a lot of time on devices, you tend to blink less, making your eyes dry and uncomfortable and leading to digital eye strain. Digital eye strain can cause headaches, blurred vision, and trouble focusing. Over time, this might affect how clearly and sharply you see details, impacting your overall vision.

Blue light from screens can also be harsh on your eyes. Too much exposure might speed up the aging of your retinal cells, raising the risk of serious issues like macular degeneration and cataracts. This emphasizes the need to regulate screen time and take protective actions.

smiling woman wearing eyeglasses

Strategies to Protect Eyes in the Digital Era

You can help patients address vision concerns associated with eye health and digital devices in several ways. During routine exams or through educational emails and texts via your optometry practice patient engagement platform, share these strategies for eye strain prevention and managing screen time:

  • Implement the 20-20-20 rule. Encourage patients to take regular breaks using the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, they should shift their gaze from their screens to an object 20 feet in the distance for a minimum of 20 seconds. This technique helps alleviate eye strain by allowing the eye muscles to relax.
  • Adjust screen settings. Suggest your patients modify their screen settings to enhance comfort and minimize eye strain. For more comfortable viewing, recommend aligning the screen brightness with their ambient environment and tweaking the contrast and text size.
  • Proper lighting at work. Emphasize the significance of adequate lighting in the workspace to reduce glare and prevent eye fatigue. Suggest ergonomics for eye health, including using indirect or filtered lighting to eliminate direct glare, installing glare filters on screens as needed, and blue light-blocking glasses.
  • Promote regular eye exams. Highlight the role of routine eye exams in detecting and managing eye issues caused by prolonged screen use.At a minimum, annual eye exam frequency for patients is recommended. Make it easy for patients to schedule regular visits online or through telehealth for eye care screenings to help catch issues early for better eye health management.

Preventative Measures and Treatments

Two of the most common conditions worsened by too much screen time are dry eye syndrome (DES) and computer vision syndrome (CVS). Knowing the latest preventative measures and treatments can help you provide the best care to your patients.

Condition Preventative Measures Current Treatments
Dry eye syndrome
  • Use of humidifiers to maintain moisture in the air.
  • Blinking exercises to promote tear production.
  • Regular eye hydration with artificial tears to minimize symptoms of digital eye strain.
  • Prescription eye drops to increase tear production or reduce tear evaporation.
  • Punctal plugs to block tear drainage and maintain moisture.
Computer vision syndrome
  • Proper lighting to reduce glare.
  • Ergonomic adjustments to ensure screens are below eye level and at an appropriate distance.
  • Regular breaks to rest the eyes and reduce focus fatigue.
  • Prescription eyewear designed for screen use.
  • Vision therapy to improve eye coordination and focus.

eye exam

How RevolutionEHR Supports Eye Health Management

The right optometry practice management software can support patient care at your eye clinic. RevolutionEHR, an all-in-one optometry platform, offers the following features for optimal eye health management and patient engagement, helping you manage their vision needs in today’s digital world.

  • Patient education tool. RevolutionEHR’s patient education tool lets you send educational emails and texts about best practices for eye health. This helps your patients stay engaged and informed about what they can do to support vision health between visits.
  • Appointment scheduling. RevolutionEHR’s integrated scheduling features make it easy for patients to book regular eye examinations. This streamlined scheduling process helps maintain consistent patient care and allows your clinic to manage appointments efficiently.
  • Telehealth capabilities. RevolutionEHR supports virtual consultations, making addressing urgent patient concerns about eye strain or other conditions easier without needing an in-office visit. Through HIPAA-compliant two-way texts and a secure patient portal, RevolutionEHR offers strong support for your telehealth services.

Boost Patient Eye Health Care With RevolutionEHR

A modern approach to optometry focuses on patient-centered care and providing prevention strategies and treatments for emerging issues associated with digital screen use. With RevolutionEHR, you have the tools needed to manage patient care effectively and share tips for minimizing screen usage and ways they can reduce the impact of digital devices on their eye health.

Schedule a demo today to see how RevolutionEHR can impact your practice and allow you to focus on today’s vision health issues for improved patient outcomes and satisfaction.

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