The American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2016 American Eye-Q® survey revealed that 88 percent of Americans know that digital devices can negatively affect their vision, but the average American still spends seven or more hours per day looking at their screens. This overexposure to blue light – high-energy visible light emitted from digital devices – can lead to digital eye strain, sleep problems, blurred vision, headaches and neck and shoulder pain, among other things. The AOA survey also indicates that the average millennial spends nine hours per day on devices such as smartphones, tablets, LED monitors and flat-screen TVs which also emit blue light.
The following tips explore ways people can protect their eyes and monitor digital screen usage while at home or work:
- Power down before you turn in: Turn your digital devices off at least one hour before bed.
- Unplug with the AOA 20-20-20 rule: When you are using any device or computer, make a conscious effort every day to take a 20-second break and look away from the screen, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
- Step back: Maintain a comfortable working distance from your digital device by using the zoom feature to see small print and details, rather than bringing the device closer to your eyes.
- Adjust your device to fit your needs: The AOA recommends reducing the glare by adjusting device settings or using a glare filter to decrease the amount of blue light reflected from the screen.
- Schedule an appointment: Annual comprehensive eye exams will detect signs and symptoms of eye fatigued caused by blue light.
Blue light symptoms:
digital eye strain
eye irritation (burning and stinging)
neck and shoulder pain
News Medical, 2016