(BPT) – Most Americans probably assume aging and eye problems go hand in hand, but did you know one of the most common types of optical disorders actually affects a greater number of young people?
Seventy-three percent of adults younger than 30 experience digital eye strain -- physical discomfort and visual impairment caused by prolonged screen viewing -- according to the Vision Council. With 90 percent of Americans using digital devices two or more hours a day and 60 percent on devices more than five hours a day, it's not surprising that 65 percent of people also experience symptoms of digital eye strain.
Research by the Vision Council shows 87 percent of people in their 20s use two or more devices at the same time. Vision care professionals also say they're seeing a growing number of young people complaining of eye discomfort and fatigue, according to a Washington Post report.
"Device use is highest among young people, which is why we're seeing so many young adults, teens and even children experiencing digital eye strain," says Gina Lazaro, Chief Marketing Officer of eyewear maker FGX International. "While the condition isn't believed to cause permanent damage, even temporary discomfort can be a big problem, especially for children and young people who rely on their vision to learn, do schoolwork and play sports."
Causes and symptoms
Prolonged focusing on screens, glare and harmful blue light emitted from screens can contribute to digital eye strain. Symptoms can include:
* Blurry vision
* Difficulty focusing your eyes
* Pain in the neck and shoulders
"The reality of modern life is that many of us need to use a device or look at a screen for prolonged periods," Gina Lazaro says. "Still, there are things you can do to minimize the symptoms of eye strain."
The Vision Council and many vision health experts recommend wearing specialized glasses that can protect your eyes from blue light and glare. Non-prescription eyewear like the new Foster Grant (R) Eyezen (TM) digital glasses are designed to help fight the temporary effects of digital eye strain. The glasses employ two new technologies that provide a heightened layer of protection against digital eye strain: a patented lens coating technology that blocks a percentage of potentially harmful blue light and SmartFocus (TM) Technology, which provides a small amount of accommodative relief in the lower portion of the lens to help the eyes stay relaxed while using digital devices. The non-prescription collection features eight, contemporary styles for men and women 18+ and can be purchased online from Amazon or at fostergranteyezen.com
You can also reduce digital eye strain by:
* Adjusting the brightness of devices. Changing your background color from bright white to cool gray can help reduce screen brightness.
* Positioning screens slightly below your eye level and directly in front of your face. Avoid tilting a computer monitor. Place monitors and devices so there is sufficient distance between your eyes and the screen. Monitors should be an arm's length from your body. Resist the temptation to bring handheld devices close to your eyes. Instead, hold them a safe distance from your eyes and slightly below eye level.
* Being aware of glare. In addition to wearing computer glasses, you can minimize glare by dimming overhead and surrounding lights.
* Giving your eyes a break. Blink often to avoid dry eye, and every 20 minutes or so look away from the screen for about 20 seconds. Focus on an object or point in space that's about 20 feet away.
* Substituting leisure screen time with healthful activity. If you normally relax by playing video games for two hours a day, try cutting back to one hour and spending that other hour doing something that doesn't put strain on your eyes. Playing a sport or working out not only take your eyes off a screen for a while, the exercise brings many other health benefits, too.
* Date Aired: November 25, 2015
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