Eye strain: a sign of our times
Wednesday, December 11 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
The 2013 edition of the VisionWatch Survey, carried out for The Vision Council, confirms the role that electronic devices play in eye strain.
Among the 7,160 respondents, only 1% does not use any digital devices on a daily basis. Television has the highest daily usage (81.1%), but is most popular among people aged 55 and older. Smart phones (61.7%), laptops (60.9%) and desktops (58.1%) are the next most prominent devices. These devices are particularly popular among the 18 to 34 age group. However, the gap is smaller for the 55 and older age group, indicating that smart phones are becoming more widely adopted by older adults. Finally, 37% of respondents regularly used tablets, while 17.4% used video game consoles.
All these devices take a toll on our eyes. Taken together, we use them over many hours every day. A third of respondents use them from 3 to 5 hours a day and a similar proportion use them between 6 and 9 hours a day. Along with neck and shoulder pain, eye strain is the most common symptom reported by users. Over 73% of participants described the symptoms as annoying or irritating, but one out of twenty described the discomfort as painful or excruciating.
Almost 40% of the study participants having experienced discomfort have tried to reduce their symptoms; however, many did not know what to do, particularly younger respondents. It is clear that eyecare professionals have become an important source of information and advice on how to decrease irritation.