Two Thirds of U.S. Adults Report Discomfort While Using Digital Devices

Two Thirds of U.S. Adults Report Discomfort While Using Digital Devices

New Report by The Vision Council Examines Emerging Occurrence of Digital Eye Strain

Alexandria, VA (September 19, 2012) - Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults experience some form of digital eye strain while using digital devices, according to The Vision Council. A new report, Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age, examines how the prolonged use of digital devices can negatively impact eye health.

Digital device use in America is on the rise, and the mounting reliance on technologies like tablets and smartphones is only expected to intensify1. In a 2012 survey conducted by The Vision Council, more than one third of U.S. adults spend four to six hours a day on electronic devices; fourteen percent report daily use at 10 to 12 hours. Devices include televisions, desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, e-readers and tablets, and gaming systems.

Digital devices are an important part of our everyday lives - from business and recreation to socialization and even education, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. But this behavior can also be very strenuous on our eyes. Simple precautions can prevent the discomfort that many Americans experience while using popular devices.

Digital eye strain is defined by a collective set of physical symptoms, including eye redness or irritation, dry eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, back, neck and shoulder pain, and headaches. Individuals may also experience eye fatigue and strain as a result of blue light waves that are emitted from digital electronic screens. Symptoms often occur as a result of prolonged device use but can also be a product of an individual's environment. Intense overhead lighting, poor posture, chair positioning, and incorrect monitor arrangement can all lead to digital eye strain.

The Vision Council's survey found that the majority of Americans primarily use digital devices for recreation; work/business emerged as the second most popular reason. More women than men experience symptoms of digital eye strain and symptoms are more common in adults under 55, regardless of gender. Despite the fact that more than two-thirds of Americans experience digital eye strain, many do nothing to lessen their discomfort.

For individuals with computer-oriented jobs, I recommend using computer eyewear to alleviate eye strain, said Justin Bazan, OD, member of the Better Vision Institute. Computer eyewear products are designed specifically for computers and use special lenses and tints to reduce screen glare and improve contrast.

To prevent and alleviate digital eye strain, The Vision Council outlines key items to consider while using electronics:

  • Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  • Consider using computer eyewear to help combat eye strain.
  • Create an ergonomically-friendly work station with proper lighting, seat adjustments, and monitor settings.
  • Enlarge your computer's text and browser windows for easier viewing.
  • Remember to blink; staring at screens can dry eyes.

To view or download a copy of Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age, visit The Vision Council's website at

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

1Global Consumer Electronics Market Forecast to 2013, RNCOS. October 2011.