In their 2016 Digital Eye Strain Report, the Vision Council shared some alarming statistics about how the use of technology is negatively impacting health.
Nearly 90 percent of Americans use digital devices for two or more hours each day—that’s long enough to experience the physical eye discomfort associated with digital eye strain. The other symptoms of digital eye strain include dry eyes, blurred vision, headache, and neck, back or shoulder pain.
According to the report, nearly 70 percent of Americans use two or more devices at the same time—a practice that is hard on the eyes and leads to decreased productivity according to recent research.
With technology already a big part of their everyday lives, children, too are feeling the effects. Per the report, most children are not informed about how to use safely use devices. For instance, may not know how to hold devices to minimize squinting or how to sit comfortably to avoid strain. Sixty-five percent of the parents surveyed reported that their children spend two or more hours on digital devices every day, and 76.9 percent of parents expressed concern about the impact of devices on their kid’s developing eyes. Eye care providers have reported seeing an increase in cases of nearsightedness in children, which may be due to the increase of digital device use.
Exposure to blue light before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep. A reported 75 percent of Americans look at their digital devices in the hour before going to bed – and the percentage is higher for people between the ages of 18 and 29.
An estimated 90 percent of patients do not discuss digital device use with their eye care provider, however, exposure to technology has created new needs in eye wear. Special lenses have been developed to help combat digital eye strain. Referred to as computer eye wear, the lenses and filters are designed to reduce blurriness and pixilation as well as decrease brightness and minimize glare.
Regular eye exams to support healthy vision should be considered for both adults and children to preserve eyesight and identify issues early on.
For more information about digital eye strain, visit www.thevisioncouncil.org/des.