Effects of digital devices on the eyes highlighted

CooperVision is working to raise awareness of digital eye fatigue among contact lens wearers

09 Sep 2016 by Emily McCormick

Seven in 10 adults experience digital eye fatigue, according to research from Indiana University.

The findings show that, despite the large number of people affected by digital eye fatigue, due to a population that is increasingly dedicated to digital devices, many dismiss the symptoms as ‘normal.’ In response to the research, contact lens manufacturer, CooperVision has confirmed that it is working to raise awareness and educate people across the globe about of the condition.  

People can suffer from digital eye fatigue due to a number of factors, including long periods of mobile or computer use, as well as extended periods of bright light and screen glare. Symptoms include tiredness, as well as eye irritation, dryness and strain.

Highlighting the widespread issue, researchers at Indiana University, led by Pete Kollbaum, reported that 90% of adults use digital devices for more than two hours a day, with a further 60% using them for over five hours daily.

Furthermore, the same team found that, of those using digital devices, over 75% reported experiencing symptoms that are associated to digital eye fatigue once a week or more. In addition, 35% experienced these symptoms on a daily basis, or more frequently.

Despite the rate at which symptoms were experienced, 90% of study participants admitted that they do not talk to their optometrist about the use of digital devices.

Researchers advised that an improved understanding of how products can help reduce the affects of digital device use on the eyes will help, and concluded that the contact lens sector is best placed to undertake this.

Optometrist and vice president of global professional and clinical affairs at CooperVision, Dr Gary Orsborn, said: “Eye care practitioners know that patients are looking at smartphones, tablets, laptops, flat screens, in-car displays and more every day. While we can dispense advice on how to counter the negative effects through some simple behaviours, such as giving your eyes a break every 20 minutes and making a conscious effort to blink more frequently, those tips often fall victim to busy lifestyles.”

Commenting that while “wettable contact lenses can help with discomfort that may be experienced from digital device use,” Dr Orsborn confirmed that “a better approach is needed,” adding: “CooperVision is exploring ways to help address the issue.”

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