Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson

Are your eyes burning after a long day looking at screens?

3/24/2022 by Nicholas C. Smith, Ph.D., CPE


If you've gotten up from a long day at the computer or just put your phone down, your eyes may be burning. 

These devices strain the eyes, and this eye strain should not be overlooked. While this strain shouldn't affect your eyes long term, it can affect work-life satisfaction and effectiveness. 

The main contributors to this strain are: 

Dry eyes

People blink roughly 50% less when using a device, so eyes dry out quickly. Try to take breaks, using the 20/20/20 rule. That means for every 20 minutes of device time, look away 20 feet for 20 seconds and blink normally. 


Glare is light that comes from another source and interferes with your ability to see your devices properly. The source could be office lighting or the sun. 

Mild glare can often be difficult to perceive, but it gradually causes you to squint or lean awkwardly at your devices. 

To combat glare, consider applying an anti-glare screen filter to your device's screen. If possible, angle direct office light or natural light away from the device screen. 

Poor text color and size

Text color and size often leads to eye strain, as well. Text that has poor contrast with the background color will lead to squinting. Black text on a white background is the most discernible combination. 

Text that is too small can not only make you squint, but also it can force you to lean forward. This can stress your neck and upper back. Most computer programs have zoom features to increase text size. Also consider computer glasses if you use bifocals. 

Nicholas C. Smith, Ph.D., CPE, is an ergonomist in Occupational Safety in Rochester. He completed his doctoral degree in industrial and systems engineering at Auburn University. His focus is understanding how ergonomic injuries affect health care quality and patient outcomes.