Digital display use has been accepted as a contributing factor to dry eye disease. Nowadays, plenty of new models of digital displays have been developed, and the differences in their nature and the ways in which they are set and used may contribute to differences in the eye-related problems they cause.
This study aimed to analyze the differences in ocular surface, tear film, and visual fatigue parameters after reading on different digital displays, with and without initial instillation of artificial tears.
Thirty-one healthy individuals ranging in age from 20 to 26 years (mean ± standard deviation, 21.26 ± 1.73 years) were included in this prospective clinical study. Subjects' ocular surface, tear film, and visual fatigue parameters were assessed after reading for 15 minutes on a laptop computer, tablet, e-reader, and smartphone with matching characteristics and a baseline measurement. Measurements were taken with and without the instillation of artificial tears before the reading tasks and included the Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire, the Computer Vision Syndrome Questionnaire, tear meniscus height, the Schirmer I test, noninvasive keratograph break-up time, osmolarity, bulbar redness, and pupil size.
Statistically significant differences in the Ocular Surface Disease Index, Computer Vision the Syndrome Questionnaire, tear meniscus height, the Schirmer I test, noninvasive keratograph break-up time, osmolarity, and bulbar redness were obtained when comparing the displays (P < .05). Best results were obtained with the smartphone and the e-reader. Conversely, the computer produced the highest disturbance on the ocular surface and tear film. Finally, the instillation of artificial tears revealed no statistical improvement of ocular surface or tear film parameters for the same device (P > .05).
Taking into account the clinical tests for dry eye diagnosis, the smartphone may be considered as the least disturbing display, producing lower dry eye signs and symptoms in comparison with other devices.