BRITS’ EYE HEALTH UNDER THREAT FROM EXCESSIVE SCREEN USE
New eye-watering figures have revealed that the average British adult spends a whopping 50 days a year looking at their smartphone screen, spurring a new awareness campaign from vision experts Essilor.co.uk to help combat the negative impact excessive screen use is having on the UK’s eyesight.
As a world-leading innovator in spectacle lens technology, Essilor.co.uk is encouraging Brits to ‘look up’ and take extra precauations to avoid eyesight issues and discomfort caused by digital screen usage.
Increased daily use of mobile devices, combined with millions of Brits now staring at pixelated screens for up to 85% of their day2, means that visual fatigue, or Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), is becoming increasingly common in the UK.
Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a condition resulting from looking at a computer or other display device for protracted, uninterrupted periods of time; because pixels constantly refresh and the eyes must constantly refocus to see the screen clearly, the eye muscles are unable to recover from the strain. It is also proven that people blink less frequently when staring a screen, which causes eyes to dry out and in some cases can result in blurred vision. Glasses wearers that have incorrect or outdated prescription lenses can also be more susceptible to CVS.
Signs of CVS are often overlooked but left unchecked, could lead to long term eye health issues. Symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and neck and shoulder pain, and Essilor.co.uk is encouraging sufferers of these ailments to contact their local optician for an eye exam.
Fortunately, computer vision syndrome and digital eye strain is not a permanent vision problem, but something that can be controlled with some simple changes in behaviours.
Essilor.co.uk has created a four-step guide to promote digital eye health:
ONE: Prevent eye strain with ‘Eye Yoga’
It goes without saying that taking breaks from screens will help to reduce eye-strain. An easy way to get into a positive habit is to follow the 20:20:20 rule.
Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Or take part in eye yoga, anywhere, anytime. Look to the left, hold the position, repeat looking right. Look up, hold the position, repeat looking down. Repeat four times, closing your eyes and relaxing in between.
TWO: Use the latest tech to combat CVS
Eyezen lenses, with first of its kind DualOptim technology, are specialist ‘computer lenses’, designed to prevent or reduce eye strain or visual fatigue. Wearing these lenses can support your eyes from working so hard especially when using digital devices. Eyezen lenses can be worn even if you don’t need a prescription.
Different waves lengths of light, such as Ultraviolet and Blue-Violet light, can also cause premature eye ageing,. Eye Protect System is a unique filtering system that can be embedded into Eyezen lenses to create Blue-Violet light filtering glasses.
THREE: Keep an eye on vision with regular eye tests
Having regular eye tests and wearing the right corrective prescription lenses is the most important way you can protect your sight. By keeping on top of your optician appointments, or maybe going for your first one, you can maintain one of the most important senses we have and see as clearly as possible, for as long as possible.
FOUR: Take a break and go outdoors
It’s important to take a break from screens and to go outside. Looking at objects in different distances and in natural light can be beneficial for your eyes and sight.
Dr. Andy Hepworth from Essilor.co.uk comments: “With the average screen time in the UK being 3 hours and 23 minutes per day – a whopping 50 days every year, which rises significantly in the 16-24 age group who spend 4 hours a day on their mobiles (60 days a year), developing optical lenses that can counter the negative effects of pixelated screens on our eyes has never been more important – and has been a priority of our product development for many years.
“We know high levels of digital usage is not going away – in fact the screen time survey showed most Brits do not intend to reduce the amount of time spent staring at screens, therefore it makes sense to be aware of the need to utilise new products better suited as lifestyles change.
“While our scheme encourages people to “look up” and give their eyes a rest, which in turn will also help with their concentration and day to day mental health, we’re also offering a solution with innovative lenses. Our latest innovative solutions can rectify specific problems caused by heavy usage of digital technology.
“We recognise every person is an individual and the lifestyle choices they make day to day will affect their eyesight. By encouraging people to take up Eye Yoga and refreshing eyes during the day as well as wearing the right type of lenses, we hope to promote better UK eye health.”