Addressing Digital Eye Strain As A Contact Lens Wearer

Addressing Digital Eye Strain As A Contact Lens Wearer

Wearing contact lenses has become more commonplace than ever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one out of six Americans wears them, or about 45 million people.

However, extensive wear has been known to cause eye discomfort. A Contact Lens and Anterior Eye study of 700 people found that 89% of people who wore soft contact lenses experienced digital device-related eye fatigue. 60% reported experiencing this at least once a week.

The average American now spends at least seven hours in front of a screen, so wearing contact lenses can exacerbate the eye issues associated with already alarming screen time levels.

If you need vision correction, you may need to wear contacts, and screen time is inevitable for school or work — so how do you keep your eyes comfortable? Here are a few ways to adjust your habits and lifestyle if you wear contacts:

Replace Your Contacts

Sometimes, it’s not the contact lenses themselves that are the issue, but rather poor habits surrounding contact lens wear.

A University of Waterloo study found that 40% of people who wear contacts don’t replace their pair on the schedule provided by their optometrist.

Alarmingly, some respondents were not even aware that contacts had an expiration date. 

Individuals wearing these vision aids should not experience frequent discomfort or irritation.

Anyone going through these symptoms may need to consider replacing their contacts, as improperly cleaned or stored lenses can increase the risk of eye infections.

Daily disposable lenses like the 1-Day Acuvue® Moist allow users to start fresh each day, featuring Lacreon® technology to provide long-lasting moisture during extensive screen time sessions.

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Meanwhile, the 1-Day Acuvue Oasys features HydraLuxe™ tear-infused technology to lubricate and moisturize the eyes, making it easy for screen users to blink comfortably and effortlessly.

Old contact lenses may contain scratches or tears; because your eye tissue is soft, even the most minor scratches on contact lenses could cause irritation and result in undue eye strain. Switch to new contacts when you feel persistent irritation.

Moisturize Your Eyes

Moisturize Your Eyes

Contact lenses and screen time can increase the prevalence of dry eye, which is closely related to eye strain.

A 2022 Cureus study discovered that 48.8% of daily contact lens wearers had dry eyes compared to 25% of those who only used them annually.

Meanwhile, blink rates are reduced by up to 66% when facing a screen, which increases the risk of dry eye.

As mentioned, long periods of screen time may be unavoidable, so those wearing contacts struggling with natural lubrication may need other methods.

For instance, artificial tears formulated with the needs of technology users in mind could contain specific properties to help ease digital eye strain.

The Refresh Digital Lubricant Eye Drops and its corresponding Preservative-Free version come with the Refresh brand’s proprietary HydroCell technology.

These can help encourage better hydration on the eye surface by supporting the eye’s lipid, aqueous, and mucin layers. Individuals can use artificial tears once they feel dryness while using a digital device.

However, using these products should be supported with a proactive effort to blink more often when using screens.

Set a rule for yourself: when a document or webpage is loading, that could be a blink break. 

Modify Your Screen Settings

Modify Your Screen Settings

Beyond better contact lens habits and eye moisturization methods, you may also consider tweaking your devices to minimize digital eye strain.

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We’ve discussed how computers can expose you to bright lights and flickering images, which tire your eyes over time.

First, you may need to adjust your screen brightness to reduce eye irritation. Your devices may have settings that automatically adjust brightness depending on your environment’s ambient light conditions.

Other devices may have a “night mode” that adjusts colors to the warmer end of the spectrum, which may help with eye strain.

However, some software settings may cause colors to appear with a yellow tint, which can be incompatible with students or professionals working with accurate colors.

These software tweaks can be supported with hardware upgrades, such as screen protectors that filter critical blue light wavelengths.

For example, screen protectors with Eyesafe’s RPF 60 patented technology can filter 60% of blue light at 435-440 nm without rebalancing color or affecting luminance.

It also helps to keep screens at a safe distance from the eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, having 25 inches or more between the eyes and a computer surface is ideal.

You don’t have to give up the convenience of contact lenses or avoid screens entirely to protect your eyes.

With moderate, managed screen time and protective products designed to keep your eyes from getting tired too quickly, you can enjoy the benefits of our digital world without worry.