Digital Eyestrain – a modern day condition.
Australians are leading world consumers of tablets, smartphones and computers, with 80% of Australians now owning and using a smartphone. Australians spend an average of 10 hours and 24 minutes on digital devices every day. Collectively, we look at our smartphones more than 440 million times a day, and 75% of us regularly engage in multi-tasking across multiple screens and devices.
The digital age has changed the way we work, learn, shop, socialise and relax; however, our eyes are not accustomed to the changes of the modern age and it is taking a toll on many of us. The proliferation of devices and growing usage rates creates the question; how will our vision adapt to our relatively newfound habits?
In response, Drummoyne Optometry is launching a local campaign to create awareness in the community that extended device usage may lead to a condition referred to as “Digital Eye Strain”.
Recent studies show that as many as 65% of digital device users experience digital eye strain symptoms. Digital Eye Strain is the physical eye discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen. Symptoms can include: eye strain/fatigue, dry/itchy/burning or red eyes, blurred vision, headaches and neck/shoulder/back pain. The severity depends on the individual and the time spent on digital devices.
So how are smart phones, tablets, computers and multi device use causing digital eye stain?
- Our eyes are focusing more intensively, switching frequently between devices and adjusting to increasingly smaller, pixelated characters;
- The smartphone has created a new ‘ultra near’ vision zone, placing even greater demands on our eyes;
- The normal blinking rate is often reduced from 17 or more blinks a minute to 12 to 15 blinks, affecting tear production5;
- Digital devices are backlit and emit blue light, causing eye strain as well as being linked to disrupted sleeping patterns;
- Posture is changing as we lean towards screens or slouch in chairs, placing additional strain on the neck and back6.
Studies show that a large proportion of the community is likely to suffer from one or more symptoms of digital eye strain, but many will not even be aware that this condition exists. This is where we come in, as we can prescribe the latest innovative technology to alleviate the symptoms of digital eye strain. Digital use lenses eliminate glare, filter out blue light and prevent vision fatigue and the good news is that we can help both prescription wearers and non-prescription wearers. Our recommendation is tailored to an individual’s digital environment, device usage and the type of work they do. When you combine digital specific eyewear with blinking more often, taking regular breaks and adjusting device display settings, eyes will feel more relaxed and comfortable throughout the day.
As part of the “Digital Eye Strain” campaign we are urging people, regardless of whether they currently wear glasses, to take the time and recognise whether they have digital eye strain symptoms. Understanding the impact of digital device usage on an individual’s eyes is one aspect that we will discuss with you as part of the practice’s thorough 360° comprehensive eye consultation.