New Blue—4 Major Problems that Stem from Blue Light Exposure

Sunlight aside, the major source of exposure to blue light is, of course, digital device screens. With ongoing research pinpointing new dangers related to blue light and device usage, this is a good time to look at some of the latest stats about both exposure to and consumer comprehension of the issue.

Tip: Follow the lead of AOA President Andrea Thau, O.D., who says, “We’re challenging the public to prioritize not only their eye health, but…to limit exposure to blue light.”

40%of Americans surveyed don’t think digital devices harm vision at all.

SAVE YOUR VISION

The American Optometric Association thinks the subject is so important that it has dedicated March, its annual Save Your Vision Month, to blue light and digital eye strain awareness. Why? Because, as reported by the AOA, “The average American spends more than seven hours daily staring at a digital device, and millennials spend up to nine.” AOA President Andrea Thau, O.D., adds, “We’re challenging the public to prioritize not only their eye health, but also their overall health and well-being, and limit exposure to blue light.” To help you in your practice, here are some fresh facts and figures to share with patients and staff about digital devices, blue light, eyestrain, and visual fatigue.

 

PROBLEMS

  • SLEEP. Eight out of 10 Americans use devices within an hour of bedtime. The issue? Such exposure increases alertness and, therefore, disrupts normal sleep patterns. It affects waking up in the morning as well. “We found that after an eight-hour sleep episode, those who read on the light-emitting device [at bedtime] were sleepier and took longer to wake up,” reports Harvard neuroscientist Anne-Marie Chang.

 

  • EYESTRAIN. According to just-released research from The Vision Council, more than 87% of Americans use digital devices over two hours a day. More than half (52.2%) say they use two digital devices at once. The result is an increase in reported symptoms:
  • 31%…eye strain
  • 22%…dry eyes
  • 22.6%…headache
  • 22.1%…blurred vision
  • 30.1%…neck and shoulder pain

 

  • AGE. Here’s the breakdown by age of Americans who use digital devices for at least two hours each day and who also complain of eyestrain:
  • 91%…ages 18-39
  • 88.6%…ages 40-59
  • 78.5%…ages 60+

 

  • DISCONNECT. One key problem is that nearly seven out of 10 Americans surveyed (68.5%) have not addressed digital device usage with an ECP. According to The Vision Council, “73.5% say they don’t know about eyewear that can protect them from short- and long-term effects of digital eye strain, as well as blue light exposure.” And, as determined in a recent American Eye-Q survey, “40% of Americans surveyed don’t think digital devices harm vision at all.”

 

Do you keep up-to-date on research re. blue light, and do you share that important information with patients? If so, how? In the chair, on your website, in the dispensary? Tell us what you’ve done by sharing in the conversation on Facebook here.

Erinn Morgan