Problems & Conditions

Problems & Conditions

With an increase in digital technology, many individuals suffer from physical eye discomfort after screen use for longer than two hours at a time. The Vision Council refers to this collection of symptoms as digital eye strain.

More than 87 percent of Americans report using digital devices for more than two hours per day, and 52.2 percent report using two digital devices simultaneously.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT?

Americans report experiencing the following symptoms of digital eye strain:

  • 31 percent report experiencing eye strain
  • 22 percent report experiencing dry eyes
  • 22.6 percent report experiencing headache
  • 22.1 percent report experiencing blurred vision
  • 30.1 percent report experiencing neck and shoulder pain

Americans are becoming increasingly digitized, with more of our daily tasks moving online. For example:

  • 73 percent use a computer to do research
  • 55 percent use a smart phone as an alarm clock
  • 50.4 percent use a computer to go shopping
  • 49.4 percent use a smart phone to check the weather
  • 48.7 percent use a computer to find a recipe

Digital eye strain is becoming a family affair, affecting all age groups. The following report using digital devices for more than two hours per day:

  • 91 percent of those ages 18 to 39
  • 88.6 percent of those ages 40 to 59
  • 78.5 percent of those ages 60 and up

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ALLEVIATE DIGITAL EYE STRAIN?

Eyewear is available with lenses featuring digital eye strain reducing capabilities. However, individuals don't have to sacrifice style for function when it comes to eyewear. These specialized lenses can be incorporated into virtually any pair of frames, so individuals can choose eyewear that complements their personal look, while meeting their eye health needs.

Many people are unaware of the solutions available to combat digital eye strain – in fact, 68.5 percent of Americans report they have not discussed their digital device usage with their eyecare provider, and 73.5 percent reported they did not know eyewear can be used to protect the eyes from short- and long-term effects of digital eye strain.

The Vision Council recommends individuals and their child(ren) visit a local eyecare provider to discuss their digital habits and what eyewear solutions are available to relieve the symptoms of digital eye strain.

In addition to eyewear solutions, other ways to relieve digital eye strain include:

  • Following the 20-20-20 rule, taking a 20-second break from the screen every 20 minutes and looking at something 20 feet away
  • Reducing overhead lighting to eliminate screen glare
  • Positioning yourself at arm's distance away from the screen for proper viewing distance when at a computer
  • Increasing text size on devices to better define content on the screen

WHAT IS BLUE LIGHT?

Blue light, also known as high energy visible (HEV) light, is a type of light with short wavelengths emitting a higher energy. Some say blue light could potentially penetrate deep into the eye and recent studies have even suggested that there may be a connection between exposure to blue light and eye disease. The Vision Council continues to monitor blue light research.