The 2020 Guide to Alleviate Digital Eye Strain

Use this guide to set up your workstation, and reduce the stress on your visual system. Work smarter not harder. Alleviate eye strain, fluctuating vision, red eyes, and irritation.

6 Ways to Alleviate Digital Eye Strain

  1. Set up your work station for proper best visual outcomes – Adjust your chair, desk, and monitor for the optimal distances and settings. Use the Workstation Set Up Guide to customize your workstation for your needs. Also, keep preservative- free tears handy, and utilize a small humidifier to keep your eyes from drying out during extended screen time. Over-the-counter eye lubricating drops can make dry eyes feel more comfortable.
  2. Adjust your lighting – Room or task lighting should come from behind or overhead, not directly at your face. Utilize a glare guard to reduce reflections, which cause eye strain. See the Gear Guide for recommendations.
  3. Take frequent breaks – Use the 20X20X20 Rule. Take breaks every 20 minutes for 20 seconds to look 20 feet away. Reset your focus to a distance object to relax the strain on your vision.
  4. Blink on purpose – Consciously make an effort to blink while using electronic devices. Blinking spreads tears across your eyes, which provide nutrients and moisture.
  5. Ensure your glasses Rx is measured for computer use – Schedule an eye exam, and measure the distance from your eyes to the monitor before your appointment. You may want a pair of glasses specifically set for computer use. For best results, your gaze should be directed straight ahead or downward when focused at the screen.
  6. Commit to a daily habit of eye care – Your vision is priceless.

Gear Guide

Implementing a few pieces of gear at your workstation could increase your productivity and add hours to the time you are able to comfortably work at your screen.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Anti-Glare Screen Protector

Desk Top Humidifier

Resource List Break Reminders

Optometrists have long understood the importance of taking breaks during extended periods of time of close work: reading, knitting, drawing, computer work, etc… So, we crafted a cute term for the technique and call it the 20×20×20 rule. Every 20 minutes, you should take a 20 second break, and look 20 feet away. These breaks give your eyes a chance to re-focus on a distance object and relax your vision.

Resource List – Monitor Settings

Blue light is present in sunlight. Its presence tells our bodies that it is daylight. It helps to set our circadian rhythms. Electronic devices also emit blue light, which is associated with more eye strain than hues like orange or red. Changing the color emitted by your monitor will lower the amount of blue light emitted. This will reduce eye strain in the long run. It is important to avoid blue light exposure at night. Studies show that the blue light emitted from electronics can disrupt sleep patterns. If you need to use electronic devices within an hour of bedtime try to avoid blue light exposure. You can wear a pair of blue light blocking glasses.

Workstation Set Up Guide

Ideal Workstation Settings

  • Position monitor arm’s length away. (18 – 24 inches)
  • Lower monitor or raise chair so eyes are looking slightly downward. (10 – 15 degrees)
  • Tilt monitor upward. (Bottom of monitor toward and top away from you)
  • When wearing bifocal or multifocal glasses, ensure you are looking downward into the lens. (Do not tilt chin up to look into the reading portion)


20 Every 20 Minutes 20 Take 20 Seconds20 Look 20 Feet Away

Blinking Exercises – Instructions

Why do we need to try to blink? Doesn’t it just happen naturally?

When you blink, the glands in your eyelids release protective oils which spread across the front surface of the eye. Blinking at regular intervals maintains the health of the eye and provides clear vision.

You blink less often and are more likely not to fully close your lids when reading or using digital devices. Chronic use of digital devices can cause the oil glands in your lids to atrophy over time. Performing blinking exercises can help your glands stay healthy without giving up your digital devices.

How to Perform Blinking Exercises

  • Close your eyes, squeeze your eyes closed, then relax the squeeze while keeping your eyes closed.
  • Open your eyes and repeat this sequence 5 times in a row.
  • Use the exercises when you take a break from your computer to look 20 feet away. Ideally, every 20 minutes while you are working on the computer.
  • Use an app to set a regular reminder, or associate blink exercises other daily activities (e.g. drinking water, talking on the phone, stepping away from your desk etc.)


Close – Pause – Pause – Open – Relax

Close – Pause – Pause – Squeeze – Open – Relax

Theriot, P. (n.d.). The 2020 Guide to Alleviate Digital Eye Strain. Retrieved from