Vision Therapy in South Lake Union

The Connection Between Screen Time and Dry Eye

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Alleviating Digital Eye Strain for Comfortable Vision

Do your eyes feel dry, irritated, or fatigued after a lengthy day spent scrolling through social media, tackling a barrage of emails, or streaming your favorite content? If so, you might be wondering whether screen time could be the culprit behind these discomforts.

Indeed, while digital devices have brought convenience, they've also introduced a new challenge for eye health: digital eye strain, which is often accompanied by dry eye symptoms.

boy playing VR game


Understanding Digital Eye Strain and Its Link to Dry Eyes

woman using mobile phone

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a condition that arises when you spend extended periods gazing at screens. Its symptoms include dry eyes, fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches.

Several factors contribute to dry eyes during prolonged screen use:

  • Reduced Blink Rate

    While focusing on screens, people tend to blink less frequently. This reduced blink rate can lead to reduced tear production and increased tear evaporation, resulting in dry eyes.

  • Blue Light Exposure

    Digital screens emit blue light, disrupting the circadian rhythm. Disrupted sleep, in turn, can contribute to dry eye symptoms.

  • Poor Posture

    Incorrect screen placement or poor posture can cause you to open your eyes wider, increasing exposure to air and tear evaporation.

  • Reduced Blink Quality

    Frequent screen time can lead to incomplete blinks, where the upper and lower eyelids do not meet fully, causing inadequate tear film spreading and reduced oil secretion from meibomian glands.


The Effects of Excessive Screen Time on Children's Eyes

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a condition that arises when you spend extended periods gazing at screens. Its symptoms include dry eyes, fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches.

Several factors contribute to dry eyes during prolonged screen use:

  • Eye Fatigue and Discomfort

    Excessive screen time can lead to eye fatigue, causing discomfort, reduced vision clarity, and headaches. Children may also lose interest in activities like reading due to eye strain .

  • Dry and Irritated Eyes

    Long screen sessions can result in dry and irritated eyes, as prolonged screen focus reduces blinking frequency. Maintaining a stable tear film on the eye's surface is crucial for clear vision, especially for children adapting to screens designed for adults.

  • Reduced Focus Flexibility

    Children who spend extended periods focusing on screens may struggle to adjust to distance vision afterward. Although this is usually a short-term issue, it highlights the importance of balanced screen time and outdoor activities.

  • Risk of Developing Myopia

    Excessive indoor screen time deprives children of essential natural daylight exposure, impacting their eye development. Studies suggest a link between increased indoor time and a higher risk of nearsightedness (myopia) in children. Balancing screen use with outdoor play is crucial for healthy eyes.

woman viewing tablet in bed


Treating Dry Eyes Caused by Screen Time

Dry eyes induced by excessive screen use may range from mild to severe, with severe cases potentially leading to permanent eye surface damage. Therefore, it's essential to take steps to alleviate these symptoms.

If you're someone who spends a considerable amount of time in front of screens, you can adopt several strategies to reduce the risk of digital eye strain and dry eyes:

  • Follow the 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20-second break to focus on something at least 20 feet away.
  • Adjust Screen Settings: Modify the font size, brightness, and blue light emission to create a more comfortable viewing experience.
  • Proper Lighting: Ensure your screen is not overly bright, and your surroundings are well-lit.
  • Blink More: Always remember to blink regularly to keep your eyes moist.
  • Stay Hydrated: Maintaining adequate hydration can help support tear production.

Use Artificial Tears: Lubricating eye drops can relieve dry eyes while using screens.

Patient Reviews
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170 Reviews
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- Feb. 05, 2024
When I left my job, I didn't go to Urban Optix for a couple years. But I couldn't find a place that ... had the same service and vibe. This is such a sweet place. They are quick, fun, and have great taste. And they always ask about my dog/child. lol.
- Feb. 05, 2024
Great !!! Everything
- Jan. 21, 2024
I recently came to Urban Optix as a new patient and had an amazing experience! I scheduled my appoin... tment online, and had my annual exam with Dr. Lee. She is amazing, and so thorough and kind! She took her time to explain everything, and was extremely patient in answering all my questions—no matter how big or small. I love finding great doctors that actually care, and no doubt I’ve found a good one with Dr. Lee. I also wanted to give contacts a try after 10+ years of glasses, so we did it. Anna was training me and she was the kindest, most patient teacher ever. She was giving me love demos with her own contacts, and never once made me feel like a nuisance. It took me an hour to get them in, and after an hour of trying to get them out Dr. Lee had to help, lol. But that’s on me, they were doing nothing but being supportive and cheering me on. I’d also like to note that they are VERY transparent with pricing and what you’re going to be paying before you do anything at all. Not once did I feel like I didn’t know what was going on or what I was being charged for. Kudos to the team for being so thorough with all my insurance info and copays! All this to say, I had an amazing experience and will certainly be coming back as long as Dr. Lee is here!
- Jan. 06, 2024
Everyone is nice and professional!
- Dec. 30, 2023
Fantastic staff and Dr. Lee is amazing! Very knowledgeable and friendly!
- Dec. 29, 2023
I've been coming to Urban Optix for a few years and it's always been an excellent experience! Helpf... ul and knowledgable staff, never have to wait for my appointment, and Dr. Traci Lee is just amazing! Highly recommend this shop.
- Dec. 16, 2023
Great experience with the doctor and the staff.
- Nov. 27, 2023
Everyone here was awesome! So sweet and welcoming definitely recommend urban optix! Anna was really ... great to chat with while picking out my glasses
- Nov. 25, 2023
The entire staff is very customer service oriented. Dr. Thoreby is a great 👍 optometrist, explain... ed every step of the eye exam helping to learn how to take care of your eyes and always asked if you have any questions.
- Sep. 23, 2023
Great group of humans here. Very friendly, informative, and efficient!
- Sep. 14, 2023
Traci Lee is the very best. Such a professional, and extremely thorough.
- Jan. 13, 2023
I've been going to Dr. Traci and Urban Optix on and off since 2016 and they are great-easy to schedu... le, great location, updated technology, and a great selection of glasses. I had to use a different clinic for a few years due to poor coverage with my grad student insurance (although I've heard that UO's insurance policies have been updated and UW GAIP goes a lot further now), and I found UO to have much more modern and proactive eye medicine than the other place I tried. Their frames selection is the best I've ever seen and they have unique glasses (such as Masunaga) you cannot find anywhere else, the staff are experts on fit, lenses, etc, and the prices are very fair (even when I switched clinics, I always bought frames here). They've gone out of their way to order frames for me and work with me on payment options when I was a PhD student struggling to afford glasses. UO loyal!
- Jan. 09, 2023
i had such a great experience here (: dr lee is awesome. she was so helpful, and because my insuranc... e wasn’t going to cover the cost of my new glasses, she made sure i didn’t feel any pressure to buy some while i was there. i ended up getting a pair anyway and the person that helped me with the frames was so sweet. totally recommend this place! 💞
- Dec. 29, 2022
Urban Optix is the absolute best. I’ve been going for over 5 years now. Beyond the customer experi... ence, a full 5 starts. Dr. Lee and Dr. Thoreby are both outstanding. I’ve seen both of them over the past few years and they take the time to get to know me as a patient, my lifestyle, and concerns with my eye sight and health conditions. I’ve recommended them to folks around me, but finally getting to this long over due 5 star review! 🙂 See you in the new year!
- Nov. 21, 2022
Decided to get contacts and had my training with Gigi. She is super patient and supportive, and real... ly encouraged me to finish it. Also really appreciate Cathy for my first training. The eye exam was also very smooth with Dr. Sean and he is also very responsive regarding to my questions.
- Nov. 14, 2022
I LOVE my eye doctor of 10+ years so when it was time to find a new one, I had very high standards i... n mind - turns out Dr.Lee and team are amazing and I feel great about my eye health. 10/10
- Sep. 09, 2022
Dr. Lee is so attentive and answers all of my questions. Her staff is knowledgeable and welcoming, a... nd they have a great selection of glasses/sunglasses. I also love that her team helps me understand my insurance and what my plan covers. My eye exam finally doesn't feel like a chore!
- Jun. 09, 2022
TLDR: The Opticians are knowledgable on lens and frame styling. These new glasses are clear, comfort... able; do not slide off my face, are stylish. Thanks to Dr. Lee and Optical team! <3 <3 🙂 -- It was my day off and I needed an eye exam. I was able to booked an eye exam through their online booking system within less than 2 hours of the appointment all on my phone! I knew my vision/medical insurance ahead of time and this made everything pretty simple. I walked in for my exam and got seen right away by the same tech I saw last year; nice to see familiar faces! Dr. Traci Lee is so personable and nice. After my exam; I was given some new contacts to try out and was greeted with an optician to help frame styling. I am about a -9.50D in both eyes and needed some new eyewear. Fitting my "coke-bottle" lenses can often be hard, especially with small pupillary distances. Also, managing function AND fashion with my prescription can be such a task! I was presented with MANY options and then possible color ways available for special order online. After finding the perfect pair I was able to score some Non-Rx sunglasses with nose pads; this can be super hard to find if you have a flat-asian bridge. LOL :3 Anyway, this was my second visit; and what prompted me to finally write this was the selling experience. I received frequent updates and emails on when my glasses and contacts were ready; love that. All in all, Dr. Lee's optical team is so stellar.
- Apr. 05, 2022
“100% satisfied. RAD team. Thank you for treating me with respect!”
- Feb. 21, 2022
Great experience! The team is very professional and friendly!

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Dry Eyes in South Lake Union

Our optometry practice in South Lake Union

Photograph of Sean  Thoreby
Hours
  • Monday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thursday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Friday 8:30 am - 3:00 pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
Insurance Plans
  • VSP
  • Medicare
  • United Healthcare
  • Aetna
  • Anthem
  • EyeMed
  • Blue Cross
  • First Choice Health

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Consult Urban Optix for Digital Eye Strain Relief

Although lifestyle changes can be helpful, more effective dry eye management strategies may be necessary in some cases. Urban Optix provides a range of treatments to restore your family's eyesight.

If you or a loved one suffers from ongoing dry eye symptoms due to prolonged screen use, our experienced eye care professionals can provide relief. Make an appointment with Urban Optix to discuss dry eye management options. Let's work together to protect their eyesight and ensure a bright future.

(206) 420-7366