YOUR ROLE IN RELIEVING DIGITAL EYE STRAIN More than 83% of Americans use digital devices more than two hours daily, so this should be part of our patient care.
By Lassa Frank , OD One of the biggest changes we as a society have seen in the last decade is the unbelievable increase in the use of digital devices by people of all ages. More than 83% of Americans use digital devices for more than two hours daily, and 53.1% use two digital devices simultaneously, according to statistics from The Vision Council. Further, 60.5% experience symptoms of digital eye strain, including eye discomfort, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain, as a result of prolonged use of computers, tablets and cell phones. However, we may be missing an opportunity to help our patients and grow our practices. In its latest
Digital Device Usage and Your Eyes report, CooperVision found that contact lens wearers and non-wearers worry about how much they use digital devices. Globally, 19% of people who use vision correction and 18% of people who do not wear correction express concern about the amount of time spent looking at screens. This number rises to 26% globally for contact lens wearers, according to the CooperVision report. However, only 14% of contact lens wearers reported that they had spoken with an ECP regarding digital device use, even though 78% would be very or somewhat interested in exploring ways to reduce eye tiredness with
their eyecare practitioners. As ECPs, we should be looking for digital eye strain, or digital vision syndrome, as part of our patient care.
The search for this condition starts in the history. When taking a history, ask simple questions, such as how much time patients spend on digital devices each day and whether their eyes feel dry or sting when doing extended work on a digital device. Also ask how often patients get headaches and whether they get them more often when working on digital devices.
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