6 tips for minimising digital eye strain from prolonged screen time


4 minutes

22 April 2024

Whether it's for work, entertainment, or communicating with friends and family, spending a large chunk of our day looking at screens has become the norm for many. Unfortunately, this increased screen time comes with a downside: digital eye strain.

Also known as computer vision syndrome, digital eye strain has become increasingly common, with studies reporting as many as 70% of people suffering from the condition1. Symptoms can range from eye fatigue, irritated/dry eyes, and blurred vision1, greatly effecting quality of life.

In this blog, we take look at strategies to reduce digital eye strain related to prolonged screen time, including adjusting computer screen settings, taking regular breaks, and keeping eyes lubricated.

Tip 1: Follow the 20-20-20 rule

If you’re spending the majority of your workday looking at a screen, it’s essential to take regular breaks in order to let your eyes rest.

A great way to hold yourself accountable is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen and focus on an object at least 20 feet (6 metres) away, for 20 seconds. Easy to remember and simple to implement, this exercise will not only help to relax your eye muscles but also reduce eye fatigue2.

Tip 2: Pay attention to your screen settings

Your computer and/or laptop’s display settings can have a significant effect on both eye strain and fatigue. Specsavers advises adjusting screen brightness to match your surroundings and fine-tuning your computer’s contrast and font size to whichever levels are easiest for you to read3.

Tip 3: Ensure proper screen set up

Whether you’re using one or two screens, correct monitor set up is essential for reducing eye strain, not to mention stress on your neck and back.

For solo screen users, minimise glare by angling the monitor away from light sources and windows. Ensure the monitor is directly in front of you, positioned at arm's length. Aim to set the top of the screen slightly above eye level, eliminating the need for awkward head tilting. Tilt the monitor approximately 15 degrees upwards for added comfort during prolonged use4.

If you’re using dual screens, position the primary monitor directly in front of you. Arrange the screens side by side, slightly angling them towards each other to maintain a natural viewing angle and prevent excessive turning5.

Tip 4: Don’t forget to blink

This may seem too obvious to be included as a tip, but it turns out we blink a lot less when staring at a computer screen, with reports suggesting that blink frequency decreases by 66%5.

Blinking is essential to maintain eye health and function, keeping our eyes moist and preventing dryness and irritation6. Practicing the 20-20-20 rule is a great way to get some blinks in, but if you’re still experiencing chronic eye dryness, talk to your GP or pharmacist about the benefits of using lubricating eye drops.

Tip 5: Reduce glare

Glare from bright, light-coloured walls and glossy surfaces reflected on your computer screen can cause significant eye strain. Thankfully, this can be combated in a number of ways, including investing in an anti-glare screen for your computer, shading bright windows, or if you wear glasses, selecting lenses with an anti-reflective coating3. We recommend positioning light sources away from the screen and using curtains or blinds to control natural light. Soft, indirect lighting is ideal for reducing eye strain when working on a computer2.

Tip 6: Get regular eye exams

If you’re experiencing eye strain, blurring, or frequent headaches, it could be a sign that you need corrective lenses, or if you already wear glasses, that your current prescription needs an update4. Vision can change over time due to various factors such as age, lifestyle, pregnancy, or underlying health conditions7.

Regular eye exams are also crucial for the early detection of eye conditions like glaucoma and cataracts, monitoring eye health, and even identifying systemic diseases. For more information, check out our blog, Understanding the important of regular eye exams.

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1Journal of Optometry: Prevalence of computer vision syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis

2Healthdirect: Eye care

3Specsavers: Computer eye strain

4Australian Government Comcare: Computers and workstations

5University of Salford Manchester: Blink and you’ll miss it: Computer vision syndrome and managing eye health in a new era of online learning and teaching

6Better Health Channel: Dry eye

7Specsavers: Do I need an eye test?


This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.