Digital Eye Strain
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.
About 80 percent of American adults report using digital devices for more than two hours per day with nearly 67 percent using two or more devices simultaneously, and 59 percent report experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON CHILDREN?
Children today have grown up with technology always at their fingertips. It seems as if children learn how to use a computer/laptop, smart phone or tablet before they can walk. Whether they're playing the latest game or doing homework, technology permeates a child's life and does so at a young age.
While more than 70 percent of American adults report their child(ren) receives more than two hours of screen time per day, nearly 25 percent are still not concerned about the impact of digital devices on their child(ren)'s developing eyes.
Meanwhile, besides playing outside, the most popular activites children engage in are playing on a digital device (23.1 percent) and watching TV (20.1 percent). And American adults report their children experience the following after being exposed to two or more hours of screen time:
- Headaches (8.8 percent)
- Neck/shoulder pain (5 percent)
- Eye strain, dry or irritated eyes (9.1 percent)
- Reduced attention span (15.2 percent)
- Poor behavior (13.3 percent)
- Irritability (13.5 percent)
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ALLEVIATE DIGITAL EYE STRAIN?
Eyewear is available with lenses featuring magnification, plus anti-reflective and blue light-filtering capabilities, as well as select contact lenses, to help reduce the symptoms of digital eye strain.
And individuals don’t have to sacrifice style (or their bank accounts) for function when it comes to eyewear. These specialized lenses can be incorporated into virtually any pair of frames available at a variety of price points, so individuals can choose eyewear that complements their personal look and is within their budget, while meeting their eye health needs.
However, 69 percent of American adults report they did not know eyewear for digital device usage could protect the eyes from the short- and long-term effects of digital eye strain, and 87 percent report they did not know contact lens solutions were available either.
The top three reasons individuals report not using eyewear for digital device usage (besides those who already do use eyewear) are:
- They don’t think they’re necessary
- Their eyecare provider didn’t recommend using eyewear
- They are too expensive
The Vision Council recommends individuals and their child(ren) visit an eyecare provider to discuss their digital habits and what solutions are available to relieve the symptoms of digital eye strain. Only 20.5 percent report having an annual eye exam and discussing their digital device usage with their eyecare provider, with about 30 percent reporting the same goes for their child(ren).
Additionally, parents should encourage their child(ren) to take breaks when using digital devices; make sure child(ren) don't put screens too close to their eyes, especially for long periods of time; and should ensure their child(ren)s' workspace is set up properly with a chair promoting correct posture with feet flat on the floor.