Alleviating Eye Strain from Digital Devices: Tips and Exercises for Relief

Published on
February 3, 2023

As we spend more and more time in front of computer screens and cell phones, it's important to be aware of the potential effects on our eyes. Eye strain, pressure between the eyes, and headaches can be caused by prolonged device use, as well as shoulder and neck pain. In this blog, we'll provide some tips and exercises to help alleviate these symptoms and keep your eyes healthy.

Relief from Computer-Induced Eye Strain: The Importance of Taking Frequent Breaks

One of the main causes of eye strain is staring at a digital device for too long. This can lead to "accommodative spasm" in the eye muscles, which can be relieved by taking breaks. A good rule of thumb to follow is the "20-20-20 rule" - for every 20 minutes of screen time, take a 20-second break and look at something at least 20 feet away. This will give your eye muscles a rest and prevent cramping.

Eliminating Eye Strain through Proper Screen Positioning

The position of your screen can also play a big role in eye strain. For desktop computers and laptops, it's best to have the screen at arm's length. The height of the screen should also be adjusted so that your eyes are not quite at the very top of the screen, but not directly in the middle. If you're watching a movie or playing a video game, having the screen at eye level in the middle of the screen is more comfortable. To reduce glare, make sure that windows and indoor light sources are not reflecting on your screen. 

How to Adjust Your Device Settings To Reduce Eye Strain

You can also adjust the settings on your device to make it easier on your eyes. One way to do this is to increase the font size if it's too small and you find yourself squinting. On a Windows 10 computer, you can press the control button and use the plus or minus buttons to control the font size. On a phone, go to settings and adjust the font accordingly. Another way to adjust the settings is to change the brightness level of your screen. On Windows 10, you can right-click on the home screen, go to display settings, and use the slide bar to adjust the brightness and color. There's also a night mode or blue light setting on Windows 10, Android, and Apple, which reduces the amount of blue wavelength light coming from your device, which can affect your melatonin production and sleep cycle and may contribute to eye strain.

Combatting Digital Eye Strain: The Importance of Frequent Blinking

When using digital devices, it's common for many of us to blink less often or less fully. This happens because we are highly focused on the computer screen, phone or book, which results in a decrease in our blink rate or quality of our blinking. Typically, our blink rate is around 20 times per minute during a conversation, but it can drop to as low as 4.5 times per minute while using digital devices. To alleviate these symptoms, it's important to be mindful of blinking and make a conscious effort to blink more frequently. Additionally, you can use lubricating eye drops and warm compresses to alleviate the symptoms of dry eye.

Relieving Eye Strain through Eye Exercises: A Practical Guide for Digital Device Users

While we typically recommend taking breaks and engaging in outdoor activities to alleviate eye strain, certain eye exercises can also be beneficial. One such exercise is called cupping, where you warm your hands and gently place them over your eyes, creating a dark environment for your eyes to rest in. It is important to not put too much pressure on your eyes and to relax your shoulder and neck muscles while performing this exercise. This technique can serve as a form of relaxation for your eyes, providing relief from the bright lights of digital screens.

Exercise 1: Active Blinking

Objective: Encourage full and complete blinking


  • Spend one minute actively blinking
  • Do 50 full blinks
  • Look in each direction (up, down, left, right, straight) and blink 10 times in each direction
  • Ensure full blinks by placing a finger under your eye near your cheekbone
  • You should feel a gentle brush of your upper eyelashes on your finger when you blink fully

Exercise 2: Eye Squeeze

Objective: Strengthen eyelid muscles


  • Close your eyes normally, pause for 2 seconds, then open them
  • Close your eyes normally again, pause for 2 seconds, then forcefully close them
  • Hold the lids together tightly for 2 seconds, then open both eyes
  • Repeat for 1 minute

Exercise 3: No Movement Blink

Objective: Improve blinking technique


  • Place fingers at the corners of your eyes
  • Blink fully
  • No movement should be felt under your fingers during correct blinking

Take Our Online Symptom Assessments

Is blurry, fuzzy, or double vision impacting your quality of life and vision? Take our online double vision assessment to help identify if you may have an underlying vision problem that is causing diplopia (double vision) /neuro/double-vision-quiz/ 

Take our dry eye assessment to see if your symptoms indicate that you are suffering from treatable dry eye disease /dry-eye/dry-eye-quiz/

Can eye exercises reduce eye strain? 

In some cases exercises and changes in your setup and habits are all you need to reduce the symptoms, however that may not always fix the underlying cause of your symptoms. There are many possible causes for eye strain, for example dry eye disease and eye misalignment are two very common causes for eye strain and will require additional treatment. We always recommend visiting our optometrist to assess the underlying cause of your symptoms so that you can get the relief that you need.   

Don't Let Digital Eye Strain Impact Your Vision and Daily Life: Schedule an Eye Exam at American Family Vision Clinic Today!

According to a survey by the American Optometric Association (AOA), a majority of Americans, nearly 2 out of every 3, report experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain. Additionally, the survey found that a significant number of children, specifically 80% of those aged 10-17, report experiencing symptoms digital eye strain (computer vison syndrome).

At American Family Vision Clinic, we understand the impact that digital eye strain can have on your vision and daily life. If you are experiencing symptoms such as headaches, blurry vision, or dry eyes, it is important to schedule an eye exam to determine the underlying cause and develop a personalized treatment plan. Our team of experienced optometrists are dedicated to providing the highest quality care and have the latest technology and techniques to address digital eye strain. Don't let your symptoms go untreated any longer, schedule an appointment with us today by calling (360) 491-2121 and take the first step towards improving your vision and overall well-being. Patients who suffer from digital eye strain visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
1 2 3



How Does Vision Therapy Improve Reading Ability?

According to the American Optometric Association, approximately 80% of what a child learns in school is acquired through vision, and […]

Read More

What Causes Bloodshot Eyes? Understanding the Causes and Treatments

Bloodshot eyes can be alarming, but they are not always a cause for concern. In this blog, we will discuss […]

Read More

Ocular Rosacea: Understanding the Symptoms and Best Treatment Options

Rosacea is a skin condition that affects many people. While it is commonly found on the face, rosacea can also […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

American Family Vision Clinic Logo

Working Hours




400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 459-1097
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram