Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults experience some form of digital eye strain while using digital devices, says a new report, Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age, from The Vision Council.
More than one-third of U.S. adults now spend four to six hours a day on electronic devices; fourteen percent report daily use at 10 to 12 hours. These digital behaviors have contributed to increased reports of digital eye strain.
Digital eye strain is defined by a variety of physical symptoms, including eye redness or irritation, dry eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, back, neck and shoulder pain, and headaches. It is often the result of spending too much time in front of electronics without allowing eyes to rest.
The small screens of handheld electronics, in addition to blue light illumination and low-resolution content, can also irritate and fatigue eyes.
Exacerbates existing eye problems
“Digital device use can exacerbate discomfort in people with existing problems like latent eye muscle imbalance, astigmatism, farsightedness and presbyopia,” said Justin Bazan, OD, member of the Better Vision Institute.
“The corrective eyewear prescribed for these issues is not intended for mid-distance range and can actually add to discomfort if used at a computer.”
Eye care experts recommend purchasing a separate pair of eyeglasses for digital device use as a solution to eye strain.
Computer eyewear is available in both prescription and non-prescription and designed specifically to relieve eye muscles and improve screen contrast while also reducing glare.
We used a pair of mid-range focus computer glasses for a few years, and they did help, but our latest regular glasses, which were made using transitional digital processing of our prescription, work fine. The biggest problem with special computer glasses is forgetting to change to your regular ones.
We also switched to using a Kindle with eInk technology for a great deal of our reading. It’s even possible to have a lot of your online reading sent to your Kindle or other e-readers with browser add-ons and services such as Pocket (formerly Read Later) and Instapaper. Reading on a Kindle is close to reading ink on paper and you can also increase the font size as large as you wish.
Despite the fact that more than two-thirds of Americans experience digital eye strain, however, many do nothing to lessen their discomfort. To prevent digital eye strain, The Vision Council recommends:
- Taking a 20 second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away
- Purchasing computer eyewear or a separate pair of glasses for computer use
- Creating an ergonomically-friendly work station with proper lighting, seating, and monitor settings
- Enlarging computer text and browser settings
- Remembering to blink
To view or download a copy of Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital Age, visit The Vision Council at www.thevisioncouncil.org
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