CHICAGO – As more people of all ages increase the amount of time they spend viewing screens on computers, tablet devices and smartphones, the risk of digital eye strain also increases. Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety group, has declared March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month to provide employers and employees with free information on topics ranging from eye strain to eye safety in industrial settings, in order to promote eye health at work.
According to a recent report from The Vision Council, “Eyes Overexposed: The Digital Device Dilemma,” nearly nine in 10 adults spend more than two hours each day using a digital device, with one in 10 people spending at least three-fourths of their waking hours on a digital device. Digital Eye Strain is defined as “physical discomfort felt after prolonged exposure to digital screens.” Symptoms may include dry and irritated eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, neck and back pain and headaches.
Additionally, the Vision Council states that most digital devices have light-emitting diodes (LED) that radiate blue wave-length light. Cumulative blue light exposure has been linked to slow degeneration of the retina, which could affect long-term vision problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
In 2015, Prevent Blindness began a partnership with Healthe and its EyeSafe technologies. Healthe will donate a portion of the sales of its EyeSafe products – including protective covers for digital phones, tablets and computer monitors that reduce exposure to harmful digital UV and High-Energy Visible (HEV) blue light emitted from such devices – to Prevent Blindness in support of its children’s eye health programs and resources.
For those who work outside of an office setting, Prevent Blindness warns of common causes for eye injuries and urges everyone to wear the proper eye protection for risks that include:
- Flying objects (bits of metal, glass)
- Harmful radiation
- Any combination of these or other hazards
“No matter where you work, in an office setting or in an industrial career, your vision must be a priority,” says Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “Taking care of our eyes today will have a tremendous impact on our future. We encourage everyone to talk to their eye care professionals to make sure they are doing everything they can to protect the gift of sight.”
To find out more about workplace eye health topics, please call Prevent Blindness at (800) 331-2020 or visit preventblindness.org.