Screen time leads to eye strain

HARRISBURG—As workers and children spend more time in front of a screen, state health officials want to remind them to get regular vision screenings to protect eye health.

“With more access to technology and more digital learning and entertainment during COVID-19, we see Pennsylvanians, including our young learners, increasing their screen time,” said Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. “To prevent eye strain, we encourage our young Pennsylvanians and working professionals to limit screen time by taking a break, spending time outdoors when able, staying hydrated and making an appointment for your annual eye exam. Vision is a gift and we need to protect our health and well-being as we adapt to changes in lifestyle.”

To avoid visual discomfort and eye strain from hours of remote learning or work, the DOH suggests:

  • Positioning your electronic device at least an arm’s length away and a bit below your line of vision to protect vision as well as posture
  • Alternating your online consumption when able, like reading a physical book instead of e-book or listening to a video instead of watching it
  • Adjusting the brightness and contrast of your screen to your comfort level
  • Taking a break outdoors when possible to reduce progression of nearsightedness
  • Staying hydrated, eating well and getting adequate exercise
  • Blinking regularly to keep your eyes from feeling dry and tired and
  • Getting an annual eye exam.

“For students, this year’s back-to-school list may have looked different, but it is still important to receive an annual eye exam,” Levine said. “Having a child’s vision tested by an eyecare professional can help them towards greater success in the classroom, social development and better health across their lifespan. By maintaining your vision and eye health, an adult can protect themselves from risks of chronic health conditions, death, falls and injuries, social isolation, depression, and other psychological problems and even improve their sleep.”

For more information on eye and school health, visit the department’s website at