Most Americans Experience Digital Eye Strain from Overexposure to Computers According to Survey
The American Optometric Association shares five simple steps to relieve digital eye strain at work.
ST. LOUIS - The average U.S. worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home and the American Optometric Association's (AOA) 2015 American Eye-Q® survey reports that 58% of adults have experienced digital eye strain or vision problems as a direct result.
Symptoms of digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and neck and shoulder pain. The AOA recognizes the need to address this issue, and as Save Your Vision Month 2016 kicks off in March, they encourage both employees and employers to make eye health a priority. The five tips below can be easily implemented in most office spaces:
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
- Keep a distance: The AOA recommends sitting a comfortable distance from the computer monitor where you can easily read all text with your head and torso in an upright posture and your back supported by your chair. Generally, the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 28 inches from the eye to the front surface of the screen.
- View from a different angle: Ideally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees, or about 4 to 5 inches, below eye level as measured from the center of the screen.
- Decrease glare: While there is no way to completely minimize glare from light sources, consider using a glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
- Blink often: Minimize your chances of developing dry eyes when using a computer by making an effort to blink frequently.
"As more people spend their days at work on a computer and their free time on handheld devices, doctors of optometry are seeing more patients who are experiencing digital eye strain," said Steven A. Loomis, O.D., president of the AOA. "The problem can be relieved by taking simple steps. Just looking away from the computer for brief periods of time throughout the day can help with discomfort and long term eye problems."
Additional findings on technology and eye health from the AOA Eye-Q Survey:
- 59% of those surveyed responded that desktop computers and laptops were the devise that bothered them most. Mobile phones were second at 26%, followed by tablets at 8%.
- 61% of people surveyed admit to using multiple digital devices at the same time.
- 56% responded that their primary use for digital devices is entertainment (reading, watching movies or shows, video games).
- 76% of people know that blue light from digital devices affects vision.
If you think you are experiencing digital eye strain, schedule an appointment with a doctor of optometry. To find one nearby or for additional information on eye health in the workplace, please visit aoa.org.
About the American Eye-Q ® survey:
The tenth annual AOA American Eye-Q ® survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB). From February 19-March 4, 2015, PSB conducted 1,000 online interviews among Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of the U.S. general population. (Margin of error is plus or minus 3.10%age points at a 95% confidence level.)
About the American Optometric Association (AOA):
The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find a doctor of optometry near you, visit aoa.org.