Report: Digital Screens Still a Sight for Sore Eyes

The Vision Council's latest study of digital eyestrain found that young adults in particular are suffering from sore eyes, though the association notes that new kinds of eyewear may help alleviate the problem.

You’ve probably spent a lot of time staring at screens for—I don’t know—your entire life. How’s that working out for your eyes?

A new report from the Vision Council, a trade group for the eyewear industry, says our eyes are straight-up overexposed to technological devices like laptops, smartphones, and even televisions. And young adults in particular are feeling the effects: 73 percent of respondents under 30 say they’ve experienced digital eyestrain compared to 65 percent in all age brackets. (That 65 percent, it should be noted, is an improvement from group’s 2014 report on the same topic, which put the level at 70 percent.)

And we’re becoming more and more glued to our screens as well. Almost 90 percent of consumers use their digital devices for two or more hours daily, according to the report, and most people who suffer from digital eyestrain say they use their devices for nearly that long.

“Our eyes are not built to stare at digital screens all day, but the demands of our modern-day world frequently put us in front of a computer, working from our smartphones, and reading on our tablets for hours on end,” optometrist Justin Bazan is quoted as saying in the report [PDF]. “As a result, many of us are living with tired, sore and fatigued eyes, and even headaches—all symptoms of digital eyestrain.”

The report notes that new eyewear options could help, as could placing your screens farther away from your face and—here’s the hard part—stepping away periodically. “Follow the 20-20-20 rule to avoid dry, tired eyes,” the report recommends. “Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.”

“When using technology, many people think suffering with digital eyestrain is unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to be,” Vision Council CEO Mike Daley said in a news release. “The optical industry has responded to the shift in digital habits and has developed lens technology to protect eyes from blue light, glare, and other environmental stressors.”

More highlights from the report:


How much time do you spend in front of a screen every day? How do you relieve your digital eyestrain? Share your experience in the comments below.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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