Are ‘Blue Blocking’ Contact Lenses A New Way of Combating Digital Eye Strain?

Lately, the literature has been flooded with articles surrounding digital eye strain.  Is this a topic that comes up in your practice? Hindsight is 20/20/20: Protect Your Eyes from Digital Devices is the name of a new report from The Vision Council, which examines the extent to which we have let digital devices into our lives and the potential for negative effects on our eyes and sight.

The Vision CouncilDid you know that a whopping 95% of Americans spend at least two hours every day using digital devices, as our tablets, smart phones, Mac book Pros and PCs are able to help us do more things, we are happy to let them.  How has this affected our patients?  Looking at screens so frequently has resulted in digital eye strain for many, a condition characterized by dry eyes, redness, blurred vision, tired eyes, back pain, neck pain and headaches.

Dora Adamopoulos, OD, is the medical adviser to The Vision Council, and she has stressed that the average American looks at their mobile phone more than 100 times a day.  When you think about it, that’s just over 4 times an hour.  I am sure that most of us are guilty of more. Looking at a digital device so frequently is a new habit that human beings have acquired, and most experts predict that, unfortunately, our health is likely to suffer negative consequences as a result.

Hindsight is 20/20/20: Protect Your Eyes from Digital Devices points out that there are levers that can be pulled to mitigate the likelihood that you will suffer serious effects from digital eye strain. The larger the text, for example, the less your eyes need to strain to read it – also, your posture, the way you have set up your computer, an untreated visual condition and the blue light emitted by your screens all contribute to the likelihood you will develop digital eye strain.

The report stresses the possible link between an overexposure to blue light and serious eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, though the relevant research is in its infant stage. Why is blue light seen as a potential threat to the health of the human eye?

Blue light is high energy visible light (HEV light): It has the ability to reach further into the eye than other kinds of light the eye is regularly exposed to, possibly threatening the retina. There are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of digital eye strain.

Though the need for blocking blue light is still a controversial topic, special contact lenses that can block out blue light are available now.  Some are recommending those who work in jobs where they are continually looking at screens to start with this type of treatment. Where do you fall on this debate?

Other more universally accepted attempts could include creating a comfortable working space by placing your computer at an appropriate height to allow for good posture (sitting up straight), enlarging the text you read and vigilantly following the 20/20/20 rule (every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds).

To read Hindsight is 20/20/20: Protect Your Eyes from Digital Devices follow this link.


About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.

[Jan 28, 2015]
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