In today’s society, it’s rare to find an adult, teen or child who doesn’t come into contact with a digital computer screen on a frequent basis. People conduct business on desktop and laptop computers at work, and teens and children use tablet computers in school. Some people use eReaders to read books and magazine, while others use smartphones to stay connected with friends by sending text messages and perusing social media sites. It’s great to be living in the digital age, but looking at a digital screen for hours at a time can wear on the eyes.
According to a recent survey 1 from the American Optometric Association (AOA), 85 percent of parents say their children use an electronic device up to four hours a day. And, in a survey 2 conducted by The Vision Council, more than a third of adults in the U.S. say they spend between four to six hours a day using digital computer devices (14 percent say they spend 10 to 12 hours a day looking at digital screens). With more people of all ages looking at digital screens for long periods of time each day, one has to wonder how this impacts the health of the eyes…and if there are any issues associated with the prolonged use of looking at digital screens. The answer is yes. In fact, digital eye strain is the most common computer-related repetitive strain injury, exceeding carpal tunnel and tendonitis 3.
Digital eye strain is caused by the overuse of digital devices such as computers and smartphones. Since these electronic devices are designed to be used and held within close range of the eyes, after a while, the eyes become strained as they continue to refocus to process the images on the digital screen. According to organizations like The Vision Council, more than 70 percent of Americans don’t know or don’t believe they are at risk for digital eye strain; however, anyone who is in front of a digital screen is vulnerable. Red eyes, twitching eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, neck pain, decreased productivity and more work errors, fatigue from staring at a digital screen, and straining to see small fonts and images are some of the signs and symptoms that occur when experiencing digital eye strain.