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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul 09

Ophthalmol Ther

Digital Eye Strain- A Comprehensive Review.


Kaur K, Gurnani B, Nayak S, Deori N, Kaur S, Jethani J, Singh D, Agarkar S, Hussaindeen J R, Sukhija J, Mishra D
Ophthalmol Ther. 2022 Jul 09.
PMID: 35809192.


Digital eye strain (DES) is an entity encompassing visual and ocular symptoms arising due to the prolonged use of digital electronic devices. It is characterized by dry eyes, itching, foreign body sensation, watering, blurring of vision, and headache. Non-ocular symptoms associated with eye strain include stiff neck, general fatigue, headache, and backache. A variable prevalence ranging from 5 to 65% has been reported in the pre-COVID-19 era. With lockdown restrictions during the pandemic, outdoor activities were restricted for all age groups, and digital learning became the norm for almost 2 years. While the DES prevalence amongst children alone rose to 50-60%, the symptoms expanded to include recent onset esotropia and vergence abnormalities as part of the DES spectrum. New-onset myopia and increased progression of existing myopia became one of the most significant ocular health complications. Management options for DES include following correct ergonomics like reducing average daily screen time, frequent blinking, improving lighting, minimizing glare, taking regular breaks from the screen, changing focus to distance object intermittently, and following the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain. Innovations in this field include high-resolution screens, inbuilt antireflective coating, matte-finished glass, edge-to-edge displays, and image smoothening graphic effects. Further explorations should focus on recommendations for digital screen optimization, novel spectacle lens technologies, and inbuilt filters to optimize visual comfort. A paradigm shift is required in our understanding of looking at DES from an etiological perspective, so that customized solutions can be explored accordingly. The aim of this review article is to understand the pathophysiology of varied manifestations, predisposing risk factors, varied management options, along with changing patterns of DES prevalence post COVID-19.