March is Save Your Vision Month and the American Optometric Association (AOA) encourages patients to learn about blue light and its impact on vision and health.
A 2016 American Eye-Q® survey revealed that 88 percent of Americans know that digital devices can negatively affect their vision, but the average American still spends seven or more hours per day looking at their screens.
This overexposure to blue light – high-energy visible light emitted from digital devices – can lead to digital eye strain, sleep problems, blurred vision, headaches and neck and shoulder pain, among other things.
The survey also indicates that the average millennial spends nine hours per day on devices such as smartphones, tablets, LED monitors and flat-screen TVs which also emit blue light.
The AOA understands that digital devices are an important part of everyday life and offers the following tips for protecting your eyes when using digital screens while at home or work:
- Power down before you turn in: Turn your digital devices off at least one hour before bed.
- Unplug with the AOA 20-20-20 rule: When you are using any device or computer, make a conscious effort every day to take a 20-second break and look away from the screen, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
- Step back: Maintain a comfortable working distance from your digital device by using the zoom feature to see small print and details, rather than bringing the device closer to your eyes. Adjust your device to fit your needs: The AOA recommends reducing the glare by adjusting device settings or using a glare filter to decrease the amount of blue light reflected from the screen.
- Schedule an appointment: Visit a doctor of optometry by visiting AOA.org to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam to detect and address vision problems.
Symptoms of prolonged blue light exposure
According to a 2016 article from News Medical, a medical information provider for healthcare professionals,researchers and consumers, the symptoms of blue light exposure include:
- digital eye strain
- dry eyes
- eye irritation (burning and stinging)
- blurred vision
- sleep problems
- neck and shoulder pain
If you think you are experiencing any of the symptoms of prolonged exposure to blue light, immediately work to reduce your exposure and schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors for a thorough exam.
For additional information on eye health in the workplace, please visit www.aoa.org.