Prolonged and continuous daily use of digital screens, or visual display terminals (VDTs), has become the norm in occupational, educational, and recreational settings. An increased global dependence on VDTs has led to a rise in associated visual complaints, including eye strain, ocular dryness, burning, blurred vision, and irritation, to name a few. The principal causes for VDT-associated visual discomfort are abnormalities with oculomotor/vergence systems and dry eye (DE). This review focuses on the latter, as advances in research have identified symptomology and ocular surface parameters that are shared between prolonged VDT users and DE, particularly the evaporative subtype. Several mechanisms have been implicated in VDT-associated DE, including blink anomalies, damaging light emission from modern devices, and inflammatory changes. The presence of preexisting DE has also been explored as an inciting and exacerbating factor. We review the associations between digital screens and DE, mechanisms of damage, and therapeutic options, hoping to raise awareness of this entity with the goal of reducing the global morbidity and economic impact of screen-associated visual disability.

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PubMed