NEWS

Eye strain: 3 ways to minimize the impact of staring at a screen

01/13/2015 02:45 EST | Updated 03/15/2015 05:59 EDT
A new report finds constantly checking smart phones and tablets is wreaking havoc on our eyes.

The study, released by U.S. company The Vision Council last week during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, says nearly 95 percent of Americans spend two or more hours each day on digital devices.

The symptoms of what is known as digital eye strain include redness, irritation or dry eyes, blurred vision and eye fatigue. 

Americans aren't the only ones at risk of digital eye strain; Canadians are also guilty of constantly being on their mobile devices.

"These machines are part of our life. They're part of our society, and we have to interact and deal with them," Vancouver-based ophthalmologist Dr. Pierre Faber told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

Here are 3 simple ways to protect your eyes.

1. Blink

Blinking may seem like a simple action, but Faber said it's key to ensuring your eyes don't dry out.

"People who work on computers, they tend to stare a lot. They stare because if you blink it slows you down," he said.

He said people who do work at computers for several hours need to make an effort to blink more.

2. Take breaks

When you're working on a computer or another digital device, plan breaks into your day, even if it's just looking away from the computer for a moment.

"It's very much like a repetitive strain injury of any kind. Whenever you're doing anything the same way every single day, you risk injuring that body part," said Faber.

3. Get your eyes checked

Make sure you're not near or far sighted. If you need glasses and are staring at a computer screen without them, you could be straining your eyes unnecessarily.

"Once those little aspects of vision are corrected, people can safely work on these computers for several hours a day," said Faber.

To hear more from ophthalmologist Dr. Peter Faber, click the audio labelled: Protect your eyes from digital strain.

MORE:cbcNews