Clinical relevance: Electronic displays, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones, have dramatically altered the way information is accessed and become significant factors in human daily life. They interfere with the blink rate and increase dry eye symptoms, which lead to more discomfort compared to hard copy while reading. Background: Digital eye strain occurs when an individual suffers from symptoms, or they are exacerbated, while performing a task requiring digital screen viewing. This study assessed the tear film status immediately following reading on a laptop computer screen versus an identical hard copy. Methods: Thirty young adults with normal ocular health and reporting no significant symptoms of dry eye (ocular surface disease index (OSDI) score < 13 and non-invasive tear break-up time (NITBUT) > 10 seconds) read a text as hard copy and on a laptop computer screen for 30 min on separate days in a random sequence in a controlled reading experimental condition. The texts were matched in size and contrast and presented at a viewing distance of 40 cm. The NITBUT and strip meniscometry tube tests were administered at baseline and after reading in both conditions. Results: The median baseline NITBUT decreased from 13.0 s to 10.0 s (P < 0.001) after hardcopy reading and to 7.0 (P < 0.001) after reading from a laptop computer screen, with a significant difference between the task medium (P = 0.001). The baseline strip meniscometry tube results decreased from 6.7 mm to 5.0 mm (P < 0.001) after hardcopy reading and to 5.0 mm (P < 0.001) after reading from a laptop computer screen, but there was no significant difference with the task medium (P = 0.085). Conclusion: Reading in both conditions led to tear film instability in terms of the tear film quality and quantity. Additionally, the computer screen has a greater impact on the TBUT compared to hardcopy reading, while these two reading mediums had a similar effect on the tear volume.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Clinical and Experimental Optometry. Soraya Khezrzade, Asieh Ehsaei, Hamed Momeni-Moghaddam, James S Wolffsohn & Samin Oladi Abbas Abadi (2023) After-effect on tear film quality and quantity of reading on laptop computer screen versus hardcopy, Clinical and Experimental Optometry, DOI: 10.1080/08164622.2023.2241053. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
- Computer screen
- hard copy
- non-invasive tear break-up time
- strip meniscometry
- tear film