Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours staring at digital screen, whether it’s the computer at work, our personal cell phone, playing a video game, or just relaxing and watching TV. Digital eyestrain is a new term used to describe the conditions resulting from the use of today’s popular electronic gadgets.
Digital eyestrain is a medical issue with serious symptoms that can affect learning and work productivity. Symptoms of digital eyestrain, or computer vision syndrome, include blurry vision, difficulty focusing, dry and irritated eyes, headaches, neck and back pain. Digital eyestrain has overtaken carpal-tunnel syndrome as the number one computer-related complaint.
Digital eyestrain does not just affect adults. Children are also at risk for eyestrain due to their growing use of digital devices. Children today have more digital tools at their disposal than ever before – tablets, smart phones, e-readers, video games are just among a few. According to a study by the Kaiser family Foundation, children and teenagers (ages 8-18) spend more than 7 hours a day consuming electronic media. Before age 10, children’s eyes are not fully developed. The crystalline lens and cornea are still largely transparent and overexposed to light, so too much exposure to blue light is not a good thing. Parents should supervise and limit the amount of screen time their children are permitted.
Nearly 70% of adults who report regular usage of media devices experienced some symptoms of digital eyestrain, but many did nothing to lessen their discomfort mainly due to lack of knowledge.