We’ve been talking about Digital Eye Strain for years. In our world, it seems ubiquitous and obvious. But according to The Vision Council’s July 2018 VisionWatch survey, as reported in Vision Monday, the problem and its solutions are still not clear to many consumers.
Not surprisingly, digital device usage continues to take up a huge chunk of our days:
Almost 60% of adults report symptoms of Digital Eye Strain. The #1 symptom is neck and shoulder pain, followed by eyestrain, blurred vision, neck strain, headaches and dry eyes.
Among children, the most common symptoms of device use reported by parents are not strictly vision-related: short attention span, irritability, and poor behavior. These were followed by eye strain (9%), headaches (9%), and neck and shoulder pain (5%).
While symptoms of DES abound, awareness of these symptoms as an ocular health issue lags. About 51% of U.S. adults say they are aware of DES, which isn’t bad considering that most people spend very little time thinking about vision issues. But it still means that half the population needs to be educated. About 35% report that they aren’t concerned about the impact of digital device use on their eyes, and 25% of parents say they’re not concerned about the impact of DES on their children’s eyes.
Awareness of solutions for DES is also low. 70% don’t know that eyeglasses designed to treat DES symptoms are available. Disturbingly, half of those who had eye exams in the past year say that vision problems associated with digital devices were not discussed.
What We Can Do
Digital device use is nearly universal, and 8 in 10 adults have symptoms of DES. What’s more, there are lenses for nearly every type of wearer that are designed to treat the symptoms. Even for people who don’t need prescription eyewear, there are solutions like “gamer glasses” designed that address both DES and blue light effects. Given all that, there’s every reason to discuss DES and possible solutions with virtually every patient. Even if they don’t report symptoms of DES on their patient questionnaires, a conversation might cause them to think a little harder, or to start noticing the symptoms after the appointment. Even if the conversation doesn’t lead to a sale of DES lenses, the patient will know his or her options. A more informed patient is always a better patient.