LAS VEGAS—Most Americans are at risk of digital eye strain, yet are unaware of how using smartphones, tablets or other digital devices affects their eyes and vision health, according to a report by
The Vision Council
that is being released today at International
“On average, we look at our mobile phones more than 100 times a day, yet people aren’t making the connection how this constant use of technology is impacting vision health,” observed Dora Adamopoulos, OD, medical adviser to The Vision Council. “Digital eye strain is likely to continue to grow as a health concern. However, there are tools and products that can alleviate or even prevent the onset of symptoms as well as protect the eyes.”
The Vision Council report found that 95 percent of Americans spend two or more hours every day using digital devices. Digital eye strain—experienced by a majority of American adults—is characterized as temporary physical discomfort felt after two or more hours in front of a digital screen and is associated with the close to mid-range distance of digital screens.
It is marked by symptoms such as redness, irritation or dry eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, back and neck pain and headaches. Several environmental factors can contribute to fostering the condition, including the small size of the text on screens; time spent staring at devices; posture; computer setup; existing, untreated vision issues; and the blue light emitted from digital screens and lighting.
The report also highlights emerging research on blue light overexposure, also referred to as high-energy visible or HEV light. Although the issue is nascent, recent evidence points to a possible link between exposure to blue light and long-term vision issues such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Yet, 72 percent of adults are not aware of the potential damage caused by blue light overexposure and don’t know that digital devices emit blue light, according to The Vision Council.
“Many people assume digital eye strain is an unavoidable part of living in a digital world, but there are simple ways to ease the strain on eyes,” said Mike Daley, CEO of The Vision Council. The vision community as a whole has identified technology use as a challenge for eye comfort and health. As a result, over the past several years, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of innovation to help reduce the strain to eyes that many experience from digital devices.”
Lens technologies used in computer eyewear are specially designed for optimizing and protecting vision when viewing content on screens and can be provided with or without a prescription. This eyewear can utilize different tints, coatings and materials, including blue-light blocking abilities, which can be tailored to different lifestyle needs.
The report, Hindsight is 20/20/20: Protect Your Eyes from Digital Devices
, takes a generational look at digital device use and how each age group is impacted by the surge in overuse. Among the key findings:
• One in four children (26 percent) uses digital devices for more than three hours a day. Additionally, more than 30 percent of parents who say they are very concerned about the impact of digital devices on their child’s eyes allowed more than three hours of screen time daily.
• Nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) Millennials report symptoms of digital eye strain and most own smartphones (84 percent).
• Gen Xers own more tablets or e-readers compared to other age groups (48 percent) and are more likely than the Millennials and Boomers to use digital devices for work and recreational reading.
• One in four Boomers (26 percent) spend at least nine hours on digital devices each day and experience fewer symptoms of digital eye strain than Millennials and Gen Xers (57 percent vs. 67 percent and 63 percent respectively).
To view or download a copy of the report, visit The Vision Council online at