Put Your Digital Devices to Bed Early: Optometrists Caution Overexposure to Blue Light May Cause Health Issues

The American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 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 AOA 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 encourages patients to learn about blue light and its impact on vision and health during Save Your Vision Month 2017 in March. The following tips explore ways people can protect their eyes and monitor digital screen usage while at home or work:

  • Power down before you turn in: Turn your digital devices off at least two hours 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 Eyecare.org to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam to detect and address vision problems.

“This year, we’re challenging you to prioritize not only your eye health, but your overall health and well-being, and limit your exposure to blue light,” said Dr. William Ference, optometric physician and president of the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians (NJSOP). “It’s as easy as looking away from your screen every 20 minutes and powering down two hours before bed.”

If you think you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below due to prolonged exposure to blue light, schedule an appointment with your optometric physician. For additional information on eye health in the workplace, please visit www.aoa.org or www.eyecare.org.

Blue Light Symptoms:
Digital eye strain
dry eyes
eye irritation (burning and stinging)
blurred vision
sleep problems
headaches
neck and shoulder pain
(News Medical, 2016)

About the American Eye-Q® survey:
The AOA 2016 American Eye-Q® survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Edelman Intelligence. From September 22-28, Edelman Intelligence conducted 1,000 online interviews among Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of the U.S. general population. The margin of error for this sample is +/- 3.1% at the 95 percent confidence level.

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):
The American Optometric Association, founded in 1898, is the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation’s health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry (O.D.), optometric professionals and optometry students. Doctors of optometry take a leading role in patient care with respect to eye and vision care, as well as general health and well-being. As primary health care providers, doctors of optometry have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage ocular disorders, diseases and injuries and systemic diseases that manifest in the eye. Doctors of optometry provide more than two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For more information on eye health and vision topics, and to find a doctor of optometry near you, visit aoa.org.

About the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians

The New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians is dedicated to the improvement of quality, availability and accessibility of eye and vision care. The NJSOP represents the optometric profession before the New Jersey Legislature, the consumer and the public. It also assists its members in conducting their practices successfully in accordance with the highest ethical standards of patient care and efficiency. To learn more, visit www.njsop.org.

Katie Van Hise

About Katie Van Hise

Katie Van Hise serves as the Director of Communications and Marketing for the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians (NJSOP). She works closely with members of the NJSOP to provide consumers with current and factual information regarding eye and vision care.

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