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How much time do we really spend in front of the screen?

Posted Feb 19 2016  |  by DOC

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A recent report issued by the US-based Vision Council, uncovered that 65% of the population reported experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain. Though this report is based on US data, research shows that internet use per capita, in Canada is even higher than in the US, with Canadian children (aged 10-16) getting a staggering 6.5 hours of screen time per day.

What is digital eye strain? Digital eye strain is the physical eye discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen.

Instances of digital eye strain are increasing as our lives become increasingly digitized. According to the Vision Council report:

  • 96% of adults use digital devices to find a recipe.
  • 76% look at their digital devices in the hour before going to sleep.
  • Adults under 30 experience the highest rates of digital eye strain symptoms (73%).
  • 60% use digital devices for five or more hours a day, with 70% using two or more devices at a time.
  • 59% of individuals in their 40s use computers to shop online, more than any other age group.
  • 83% of adults in their 20s use a smartphone as their alarm clock.

Symptoms can vary dependent on the patient, but most experience; eye fatigue; headache; blurred vision; dry eyes and upper back, neck and shoulder pain. While abstaining or limiting your screen time is the best treatment, there are a number of things people can do to help minimize the impact of digital eye strain. Solutions can include specialized computer eyewear, optimal desk set-ups, and taking breaks when needed.

Of the respondents, 90% of patients do not talk with their eye care providers about digital device usage. If you have concerns about your digital device usage, book an appointment with your local doctor of optometry to discuss your options.

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