The Vision Council’s New Research on Digital Eye Strain

Digital Eye Strain, also known as, Computer Vision Syndrome, is eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader, and cell phone use. With an increase in digital technology today, more than half of American adults suffer from physical discomfort after only two hours of screen time. Research shows that the level of pain appears to increase with prolonged use time as well.

The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home. The most common symptoms associated with Digital Eye Strain are listed below, along with the percentage of people affected:

  • 32.4% report Eyestrain
  • 27.7% report Headaches
  • 27.9% report blurred vision
  • 27.2% report dry eyes
  • 35% report neck and shoulder pain

What Causes Digital Eye Strain?

Viewing a computer or digital screen makes the eyes work harder because of the “blue light.” As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer and digital screen device viewing make people susceptible to the development of vision-related issues.

Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain symptoms.

Viewing a computer or digital screen is different than reading a printed page. The letters on the computer are not as precise or sharply defined, the level of contrast of the letters to the background is reduced, and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen make viewing difficult.

Viewing distances and angles used for this type of work are also often different from those commonly used for other reading or writing tasks. As a result, the eye focusing and eye movement requirements for digital screen viewing can place additional demands on the visual system.

Uncorrected Minor Vision Problems

The presence of even minor vision problems can often significantly affect comfort and performance while using digital screen devices. Uncorrected or under corrected vision problems can be major contributing factors to computer-related eyestrain.

Even people who have an eyeglass or contact lens prescription may find it’s not suitable for the specific viewing distances of their computer screen. Some people tilt their heads at odd angles because their glasses aren’t designed for looking at a computer. Or they bend toward the screen to see it more clearly. Their posture begins to fail and can result in muscle spasms or pain in the neck, shoulder, or back.

Are You at Risk?

In most cases, symptoms of Digital Eye Strain occur because the visual demands of the task exceed the visual abilities of the individual to perform them comfortably. At most considerable risk for developing Digital Eye Strain are those who spend two or more continuous hours at a computer or using a digital screen device every day. According to a 2015 survey by The Vision Council, 65% of American adults reported having symptoms of digital eye strain. 

Justin Bazan, optometrist and medical adviser to The Vision Council, believes consumers and eyecare professionals have reason to be concerned about this growing trend.

“Based on my experience and research, the light emitted from screens may be linked to issues with sleep, not to mention recurrent headaches, issues seeing content on a screen, and red, itchy and dry eyes,” said Dr. Bazan. “Regardless of whether my patients are experiencing these problems associated with prolonged digital device usage, it’s important for individuals to make their eye health—especially as it relates to digital eye strain—a priority. Our eyes weren’t designed to look at digital devices, let alone as much as we all do in this era. So, it’s key to be proactive about mitigating the effects of digital devices on our eyes.”

How is Digital Eye Strain treated?

Many symptoms can be alleviated by obtaining regular eye care and making changes in how people view digital screens. For those individuals who do not require the use of eyeglasses daily may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for computer use. 

Individuals already wearing glasses may find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer. Therefore they need specific lenses that can be prescribed to meet the visual demands of computer viewing.  There are special lenses that are designed to help block out the blue light, or they can get lenses that are lightly tinted.

In Closing

It is essential for us all to get regular eye check-ups, especially those that work on computers all day.  Make sure your customers are talking to their optomotrist about getting the right lenses if they work on a digital screen for more than 2 hours a day.

Dolabany Eyewear has the frames that will fit any style for your customers. We take eyewear seriously and don’t cut any corners on the manufacturing of our frames.  Be sure to check out the many different frames we have to offer.

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