One thing is clear: more people than ever are putting themselves at risk for digital eye strain. On average, people look at their mobile devices more than 100 times a day. In fact, a recent survey found 65 percent of Americans reported symptoms of digital eye strain such as blurred vision, dry eyes, eye fatigue, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain. And perhaps not surprisingly, millennials are feeling the effects most. Adults under 30 reported the highest rates of digital eye strain symptoms (73 percent) compared with other age groups.
“Whether you’re continually looking at a smart phone, computer or tablet, you will likely experience some sort of eye strain, especially as you age,” says Danny Ngo, OD, chief of Optometry at Kaiser Permanente in Baldwin Park, Southern California. Dr. Ngo warns that eye fatigue and other symptoms from digital overexposure will only continue or get worse, if nothing is done to correct these problems. He offers 4 tips to help protect your vision.
- Get eye exams annually. Find out if you need to correct your vision. Eye exams also can identify other problems such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, hypertension or diabetes.
- Blink it out. Studies show that on average, people blink 20 times a minute. When using a digital screen, people blink 4-5 times a minute. Be more conscious about blinking!
- Use the 20-20-20 rule. Rest your eyes after every 20 minutes of continuous digital/computer screen use by closing your eyes or looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Check your work area. Make sure your work station has proper lighting, computer screen angles and viewing distances. As a rule of thumb, your computer screen should be at arm’s length distance. There are special glasses made just for your work space. Certain color tints and anti-reflective lenses can cut down glare.
For more information, visit Kaiser Permanente at kp.org. For questions or advice about a specific condition, talk with your physician.