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Digital Eye Strain — it’s a Real “Pain-in-the-Neck”

According to the Vision Council’s 2016 Digital Eye Strain Report (download it below), nine out of 10 people with digital eye strain (D-E-S) say that they use devices for two or more hours daily.

What is digital eye strain?

The symptoms are dry, irritated eyes, blurred vision with neck and back pain.

75% of people who use two or more devices simultaneously report symptoms of D-E-S compared to 53% who use just one device at a time. Prolonged staring at high-energy visible (HEV), or blue light is a shock to our eyes.

The affects are usually temporary, but productivity is reduced and preliminary research points to potential long-term damage. Too much screen time may be linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.

Children…technology has been integrated into their everyday lives, and focus group studies are finding that children ages 9–16 are experiencing eye issues, headaches, and tiredness when using digital devices.

An increase in accelerated cases of myopia (nearsightedness) is also being reported, which may be due to near-range activities like using digital devices. A recent study found that children who spent more time outdoors were 23% less likely to develop nearsightedness.

Millennials…they are big-time device multi-taskers, sometimes switching between three and four devices simultaneously. Nearly three-quarters of this age group is reporting D-E-S symptoms.

Adults over 40…have gradually increased digital device usage for two — three decades now, and their daily reliance is at an all-time high. Over half of this age group is reporting symptoms of D-E-S.

Women and Men…women are reporting D-E-S more than men (69% vs. 60%) in part because women are more likely to check digital devices just before bedtime, and women are more likely than men to use multiple screens at the same time.

Eye health isn’t the only thing being affected. Body position, when looking at digital devices, strains muscles and affects posture. Most of us lean forward or slouch, which puts strain on our back and neck when working at a computer. 80% of those reporting digital eye strain are experiencing both neck and back pain.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of digital eye strain, ask your eye doctor for an explanation of the available solutions. A regular annual comprehensive eye exam is the best way to know if your symptoms may be related to a more serious eye disease.