If you have felt increased screen time is doing a number on your eyes and potentially contributing to digital eye strain, a survey shows you’re not alone. Findings show that 80 per cent of respondents say pandemic-prompted screen time put their eyes in “overdrive”.
In fact, two-thirds of respondents report experiencing some degree of eye discomfort every day and nearly a quarter say their eyes feel worse now than they did a year ago. All that is adding up to a new sense of urgency: 90 per cent say it’s important to take care of their eyes — starting now.
The VSP Vision Care survey also found that a quarter say their eyes feel worse now than before the pandemic.
Over half of the respondents report looking at a computer most of the day, every day, say the findings, adding that nearly 2 in 3 experience some degree of eye discomfort on a daily basis. Eighty per cent would be willing to schedule routine computer breaks to relieve digital eye strain, while roughly 1 in 5 prioritise paying regular visits to the eye doctor.
In the survey, more than half of respondents defined a “digital detox” as a break from screen time. However, there are other ways to relieve your eyes other than stepping away from screens completely:
Finding relief from digital eye strain: Digital eye strain can occur from prolonged and frequent use of screens, which engages our near vision, and exposes us to the blue light emitted by screens. Symptoms can appear as watery, dry, sore eyes, blurred vision and headaches. Although around 65 per cent report experiencing eye discomfort on a daily basis, half of Americans sometimes miss their annual exam or never go, according to the survey.
Even if you have perfect vision, prolonged screen time — pandemic-related or not — can tire out your eyes. During an eye exam, your eye doctor may suggest a computer lens or a blue light-reducing, anti-reflective lens coating that can help reduce your exposure and combat digital eye strain. If you don’t wear prescription glasses, non-prescription lenses with a blue light-reducing, anti-reflective coating can be used.
In the 20-20-20 rule, where every 20 minutes, you take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away. This will help to reset your focus and help your eyes feel less fatigued due to digital eye strain. Blinking more frequently also helps to relieve discomfort by moistening your eyes.
Keeping an eye out for kids: The survey found that more than half of parents are worried about the effects of their children’s increased screen time. Men are more likely than women to be worried about their children’s eyes and, when it comes to millennial dads, 6 in 10 are concerned about their children’s vision due to increased screen time.
Eye care is health care, and through a comprehensive eye exam, an eye doctor can detect early signs of serious health conditions like diabetes and hypertension.