Nothing describes the decade we live in better than the multitude of digital devices that now drive our lifestyles—computers, big screen TVs, mobile phones. Regardless of age and occupation, time spent in front of a digital device has now increased to over 10 and a half hours each day, a one-hour increase over 2015 (CNN, America Screen Time, Nielsen). Technology has once again outpaced our understanding of its benefits and dangers but our knowledge is now catching up.
One of the hazards caused by all of this device use is digital eyestrain. Sometimes referred to as computer vision syndrome, it presents with a litany of symptoms causing mild impairment to our vision: dry eye, fatigue, blurred vision, eye twitching and red eyes. Experts also indicate that device use is responsible for headaches, back and neck aches and light sensitivity (Visual Ergonomics Handbook, J. Anshel, 2005, Taylor and Francis Group).
As with many concerns in optometry, help is available but only when consumers understand their condition, potential treatments and where to find help—a problem of education. Part of our responsibility as health care professionals is one of education. Online marketing, websites, direct mail and e-mail have made outreach to community members cost effective and accessible to almost all. Each patient leaving your office is a potential marketer and educator for your practice if, and only if, they are equipped with the right information. Visit hubspot.eyecarepro.net/digital-eye-strain to download a digital eyestrain campaign.