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Nearly 70 Percent of U.S. Adults Experience Digital Eye Strain Due to Electronic Devices

Report Examines the Impact of Digital Media on Vision Health

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A report released today at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show by The Vision Council finds that nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults experience digital eye strain while on digital devices – including computers, tablets and smartphones. Yet, about half of adults don't know how to or have never tried to reduce their visual discomfort. As the market experiences a surge in high technology-related digital device purchases, computer glasses and other "eyegonomic" techniques are encouraged to minimize strain.

The Vision Council describes digital eye strain as the physical discomfort experienced after two or more hours in front of a digital screen. Symptoms typically include dry, red or irritated eyes; blurred vision; fatigued eyes; back, neck or shoulder pain; and/or headaches. While not permanent, digital eye strain can be painful and irritating and often affects work productivity.

"The eye is not equipped to look at digital screens for extended periods of time," said Justin Bazan, OD, optometrist and medical adviser to The Vision Council. "Focusing on objects at an intermediate distance – like a computer or smartphone – ultimately fatigues the eyes' focusing system and causes strain. These experiences might be common, but they are not normal."

In addition to tiring the eye's focusing system, many digital devices emit high-energy visible (HEV) or blue light, which may have long-term effects on vision health. Research suggests that overexposure to HEV light can damage the retina and increase the likelihood and severity of eye disorders such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. However, The Vision Council finds that six in 10 adults are unaware of the harmful consequences of HEV light.

"Digital eye strain has become a large concern for the vision community," said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. "Fortunately, the optical industry has made great strides in the past year to develop lens technologies that can best address the causes of digital eye strain. Like other glasses we rely on to read and see clearly, computer glasses are transforming the way we look at computer and hand-held device screens."

Designed for the mid-distance range of a computer screen, computer glasses help bring digital content into focus. When combined with special lens coatings and tints, they reduce screen glare and block out potentially harmful HEV and blue-violet light. Computer glasses can be made with or without a prescription.

In addition to computer glasses, The Vision Council offers tips to minimize digital eye strain:

  • Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  • Create an "eyegonomic" work station with proper lighting, seat adjustments, and monitor settings.
  • Enlarge your computer's text and browser windows for easier viewing.
  • Remember to blink; staring at screens can dry eyes.

To view or download a copy of DigitEYEzed: The Daily Impact of Digital Screens on the Eye Health of Americans, visit The Vision Council online at www.thevisioncouncil.org

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

The Vision Council is exhibiting at CES and the Digital Health Summit TechZone. Find us at LVCC South Hall 2, booth 26726.

SOURCE The Vision Council

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