Latest News Impact of Digital Media on Vision Health Is Topic of Vision Council’s Report and Booth at International CES By Staff Friday, January 10, 2014 12:21 AM LAS VEGAS—A report released yesterday at International CES here by The Vision Council finds that almost 70 percent of U.S. adults experience digital eye strain while on digital devices— including computers, tablets and smartphones. Yet, nearly half of adults don’t know how to or have never tried to reduce their visual discomfort. As the market experiences a surge in high-technology related digital device purchases, The Vision Council pointed out, computer glasses and other “eyegonomic” techniques are encouraged to minimize strain. The Vision Council describes digital eye strain as the physical discomfort experienced after two or more hours in front of a digital screen. Symptoms typically include dry, red or irritated eyes; blurred vision; fatigued eyes; back, neck or shoulder pain; and/or headaches. While not permanent, digital eye strain can be painful and irritating and often affects work productivity. “The eye is not equipped to look at digital screens for extended periods of time,” said Justin Bazan, OD, optometrist and medical adviser to The Vision Council. “Focusing on objects at an intermediate distance— like a computer or smartphone— ultimately fatigues the eyes’ focusing system and causes strain. These experiences might be common, but they are not normal.” In addition to tiring the eye’s focusing system, many digital devices emit high-energy visible (HEV) blue light, which may have long-term effects on vision health. Research suggests that overexposure to HEV light can damage the retina and increase the likelihood and severity of eye disorders such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. However, The Vision Council finds that six in 10 adults are unaware of the harmful consequences of HEV blue light. “Digital eye strain has become a large concern for the vision community,” said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. “Fortunately, the optical industry has made great strides in the past year to develop lens technologies that can best address the causes of digital eye strain. Like other glasses we rely on to read and see clearly, computer glasses are transforming the way we look at computer and hand-held device screens.” Designed for the mid-distance range of a computer screen, computer glasses help bring digital content into focus. When combined with special lens coatings and tints, they reduce screen glare and block out potentially harmful HEV and blue-violet light. Computer glasses can be made with or without a prescription. The Vision Council is exhibiting at CES and the Digital Health Summit TechZone. For consumers, and for eyecare professionals to discuss with their patients, The Vision Council is offering tips to minimize digital eye strain in the report, DigitEYEzed: The Daily Impact of Digital Screens on the Eye Health of Americans, which is now posted at the organization’s site.