The amount of time we spend staring at screens has increased dramatically in the last few years. We know that our sedentary lifestyles spent staring at screens impacts our physical health thanks to the obesity crisis, and we’re starting to explore the impact on our mental well-being as anxiety disorders are on the rise, but what effect is all this screen time having on our eyesight?
“No one knows for sure at this point if prolonged use of digital devices actually causes permanent damage to the eyes,” explained Gary Heiting, OD, senior editor of AllAboutVision.com, “but it’s well established that it causes eye strain and discomfort.”
Digital eye strain, sometimes referred to as computer vision syndrome, is well documented. If you’ve ever experienced dry or irritable eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, or head, neck and back pain after using a computer or smartphone, then you’re familiar with it.
A 2015 report from The Vision Council, Hindsight Is 20/20/20: Protect Your Eyes from Digital Devices, found that 61 percent of Americans have experienced eye strain after prolonged use of electronic devices — nearly 2 out of every 3 people. Long-term damage or not, we have an outbreak of eye strain on our hands.