(BPT) - Everywhere you look, you’re reading, shopping, banking, or being entertained online with digital devices small and large.
In fact 62 percent of adults use computers, smartphones, tablets or other hand-held devices for five or more hours a day, according to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2015 American Eye-Q survey. A separate AOA survey showed that 83 percent of children, between the ages of 10 and 17, use an electronic device for more than three hours a day.
Since digital use is only expected to continue to increase, it’s more important than ever for consumers to make smart eye care choices. Below are three simple tips consumers can follow to help protect their vision.
Give your eyes a break
Although ongoing technology use doesn’t permanently damage vision, regular, lengthy use of technology may lead to a temporary condition called digital eye strain. This condition can cause burning or tired eyes, headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain. Early research has also shown that overexposure to high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light emitted from electronic devices may also contribute to digital eye strain. To ward off these symptoms, follow the 20-20-20 rule – take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
Be a savvy shopper
Shopping online can be great for some products that aren’t individually custom-made like prescription eyeglasses. However, health and safety trump convenience when it comes to eyewear. Eyeglasses are a health investment and must be custom-fitted to be comfortable and precise allowing for a patient to see their best. Internet orders often result in incorrect prescriptions or other problems, costing consumers more time and money in the long run.
When it comes to really seeing what’s going on with your eyes, there is no substitute for a comprehensive, yearly eye exam by an eye doctor. Despite catchy claims, there is truly no app for that. While a variety of new mobile applications claim to evaluate vision or the fit of eyeglasses, these apps often give inaccurate or misleading information, and misinformed consumers end up delaying essential, sight-saving exams. Comprehensive, yearly eye exams are one of the most important, preventive ways to preserve vision, and the only way to accurately assess eye health, diagnose an eye disorder or disease and determine if corrective lenses are needed.
To learn more about eye and vision health, or to find a nearby doctor of optometry, visit www.aoa.org.