According to The Vision Council, almost 33% of adults spend most of their waking hours in the digital world. In that light, most people experience digital eye strain after only two hours using a device. The reason, is blue light. Blue light is also referred to as HEV or high-energy visible light. Because it reaches deeper into the eye, long-term exposure may cause retinal damage.
Report on Digital Eye Strain
According to The Vision Council report, ‘Hindsight is 20/20/20‘, seventy five percent of adults do not know anything about the problems associated with blue light. So my associates and I have taken it upon ourselves to try to educate as many people as possible on the HEV harmful effects and visual discomfort.
Here are a list of things you need to know about this important topic:
- 30% of consumers spend more than 9 hours a day on digital devices. And those numbers are on the rise.
- Smartphones. 69% of consumers use smartphones every day, and it is growing. More than half the country’s millennials say they even take their phones to bed with them.
- TABLETS and TV. Another 42% of consumers use tablets or e-readers every day, compared to only 26% back in 2012. Gen Xers (born 1965-1980) use more tablets than other generations, while, for Boomers (born 1946-1964), it’s viewing TV.
- Patients often complain of tired eyes, and devices are likely the major culprit. However, back, neck, and shoulder pain are just as common when it comes to symptoms related to digital usage. Most patients never tell their doctor about these symptoms as they have no idea that it is related
Digital Eye Strain symptoms
When they do complain, they report:
- 32.8% Eye strain
- 32.6% Neck, shoulder, and back pain
- 24.0% Headache
- 23.3% Blurred vision
- 22.8% Dry eyes
Digital Eye Strain Impact
Americans at both ends of the age spectrum are seeing the most serious impacts from blue light. One in four children use devices more than three hours daily, and those in higher socioeconomic areas use devices up to 10 hours per day. Myopia, or nearsightedness, is on the increase among young patients. Even though parents report they are concerned about the impact of devices on their kids, nearly a third say they don’t limit screen time. Parents just don’t understand the long term impact on their children. It’s the job of doctors, educators and media to get the word out.
For older individuals, research has suggested a link between blue light exposure and long-term problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There is more research to be done and some say we have only seen the tip of the iceberg.
This is what we prescribe and recommend to our patients. Simple things like blinking more often, taking breaks, and adjusting ambient lighting helps. But better solutions are stressing the benefits of spectacle lens options for eye protection. These solutions range from anti-reflective lenses, blue-blocking lenses or treatments, computer or office lenses and sun wear that blocks the harmful blue light outdoors. If you think that digital eye strain has affected you or face any issues in your eyes, the best and fastest way is to get an eye exam in Long island for yourself and your family. This just takes a few minutes and is pain-free.
For more information ask our team at Optix Family Eyecare.
Dr. Joel Kestenbaum