The 21st Century Eye: How to Protect Yourself from Digital Eye Strain
Prevention & Treatment Americans spend many of their waking hours staring at a digital device, but there is a price to pay for all that screen time.
It may come as no surprise that according to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2014 American Eye-Q survey, 55 percent of adults use computers, smartphones, tablets or other hand-held devices for five or more hours a day. Digital use will continue to increase, making it more important than ever for consumers to make smart eye care choices and to see an eye doctor for yearly comprehensive eye exams.
Give your eyes a break
The AOA recommends following the 20-20-20 rule to ward off digital eye strain— take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
Although ongoing technology use doesn’t permanently damage vision, regular, lengthy use of technology may lead to a temporary condition called digital eye strain. Symptoms can include burning or tired eyes, headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain.
"When it comes to really seeing what’s going on with your eyes, there is no substitute for a comprehensive, yearly eye exam by an eye doctor. "
Early research has also shown that overexposure to high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light emitted from electronic devices may also contribute to digital eye strain. Blue light may also increase the likelihood of developing serious eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration. Optometrists can suggest lens options such as non-glare, filtering lenses to help protect vision from harmful blue light.
When it comes to really seeing what’s going on with your eyes, there is no substitute for a comprehensive, yearly eye exam by an eye doctor. Despite catchy claims, there is truly no ‘app’ for that.
While a variety of new mobile applications claim to evaluate vision or the fit of eyeglasses, often these apps give inaccurate or misleading information, and misinformed consumers end up delaying essential, sight-saving exams. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical, and can often prevent a total loss of vision and improve quality of life.
Comprehensive, yearly eye exams are one of the most important, preventive ways to preserve vision and the only way to accurately assess eye health, diagnose an eye disorder or disease and determine if you need corrective lenses.