• September 12th, 2012
  • Posted by Baseem Wahab

Smartphones Can Lead to Eye Fatigue & Eyestrain

How many of you have a smartphone in your pocket right now? Yeah, I do too. Smartphones have become ubiquitous in our society and nary an hour passes before we’re checking our text messages,  FacebookTwitter or emails. But did you know that like working at a computer all day, your smartphone can cause eye fatigue and eyestrain?

According to a 2011 study in the journal Optometry and Vision Science, people hold their smartphones two inches closer to their eyes than they do a book, newspaper or magazine. It’s this distance (or lack thereof) from the eyes that can have similar effects as computer screens or televisions do. By holding your device too close to your eyes, you’re actually increasing your chances of having eye or vision-related problems down the road. Some of the most common side effects of being too close to your smartphone’s screen are as follows:

  • Eyestrain or fatigue
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches

Out of all of these symptoms, eyestrain is the most common. Eyestrain is when the muscles in your eyes become strained and physically become tired. When this happens, your eyes try to overcompensate, which can lead to more fatigue and eventually, headaches. But don’t worry, there are ways to help prevent and treat these symptoms.

The first thing I recommend you do is make a conscious effort to blink when you’re reading something on your smartphone. You’d be surprised how much of a difference blinking can make. It will help keep your eyes fresh, focused and lubricated.

I also suggest to heed the advice of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and follow the 20-20-20 rule. This means that every 20 minutes of looking at your smartphone (or computer screen), you should look up and stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This, like blinking, will help keep your eyes focused. It also is extremely beneficial in the prevention of eye fatigue. And while it may be a challenge to get into the habit of doing this, it’s worth it. Setting an alarm on your phone is a great way to remind yourself.

And finally, if your eyes are still fatigued, dry, etc. no matter how many preventative measures you’re taking, you might want to consider contacting your eye doctor to determine if there are underlying issues. If you have questions for me, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment below!


Posted in : Eye Health


  1. Tips to Reduce Eyestrain at the OfficeBaseem Wahab – Eye Doctor of Dearborn, MI

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