Technological advances, availability and affordability mean that approximately, nine out of 10 adults (90 per cent) spend at least two or more hours every day using a digital device (smart phone, tablets, PCs, etc.). More than six out of 10 adults (60 per cent) spend five or more hours on digital devices each day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for work or leisure, using smartphones, computers, e-readers, tablets, video games or TV , the time spent on these devices can and does take a huge toll on the eyes and invariably leads to digital eye strain, previously known as computer vision syndrome (CVS). It is associated with the close to mid-range distance of digital screens.
A person going through his or her daily routine usually blinks about 18 times per minute. It is now a known fact that, a person spending a lot of time staring at a digital screen will have reduced blink rates; this will cause them to have dry, scratchy, itchy or burning eyes.
In 2014 a study found that due to the significant time people spend in front of computer screens, office based workers experience persistent eye strain, and their tear film/fluid undergoes changes similar to that found in people with chronic dry eye disease.
When used in conjunction with practical “eye ergonomics” health tips, lenses designed for digital screen use (computer / digital eyewear) can reduce, prevent or even eliminate digital eye strain.
What can be done To Prevent Digital Eye Strain?
It is acceptable for people to need different pairs of shoes for different occasions. So why should people expect 1 pair of glasses to cater for all their needs? There is a definite need for different, specialised lenses to cater to varied vision demands. Digital devices have changed our daily lives immensely over the last 10 years. As a result of this the eye care industry has developed lens coatings that reduce the amount of blue light penetrating eyes, while also reducing or preventing eye fatigue that is caused by the relentless use of digital technology.
Computer /digital eyewear is designed specifically for maximising vision clarity and comfort when viewing content on digital screens. This can be provided with or without a spectacle prescription. The optical eyewear utilizes different filters, lenses and materials manufactured and matched to the individual’s lifestyle needs. The users of this eyewear experience more relaxation, sharper vision, reduced blurriness, pixilation, and at times dryness of their eyes. The lenses are designed to allow the eyes of both adults and children to relax, by adjusting to intermediate-distance objects and reducing the discomfort glare during prolonged use of computer and digital screen devices.
The specialized lenses can be combined with blue light-blocking capabilities. Blue light-blocking spectacle lenses selectively absorb harmful UV blue light, preventing it from entering through the cornea (clear part of the eye), going through the crystalline lens, and reaching the back of the eye ( the macula or fovea). These spectacle lenses are infused with either melanin or they are made to specifically filter a range of blue light.
Consumers should take into consideration the amount of time spent in front of their computer screens when they are considering the best options. They should also take into account ambient lighting conditions, distance from their computer screen, position of the screen below their eye level and the type of computer work being done.
There are lenses that offer a very wide, but shallow field of view (Single vision – ideal for sustained computer work) and ones that offer good computer vision but also lets you see clearly wherever you are inside the workplace ( occupational varifocal/progressive lenses)
For more information about digital eye strain and HEV light, symptoms and solutions, read the 2015 Digital Eye Strain report, Hindsight is 20/20/20: Protect Your Eyes from Digital Devices.