|[February 04, 2014]
WellPoint Offers Six Tips for Handling Digital Eye Strain
INDIANAPOLIS --(Business Wire)--
In today's society, it's rare to find an adult, teen or child who
doesn't come into contact with a digital computer screen on a frequent
basis. People conduct business on desktop and laptop computers at work,
and teens and children use tablet computers in school. Some people use
eReaders to read books and magazine, while others use smartphones to
stay connected with friends by sending text messages and perusing social
media sites. It's great to be living in the digital age, but looking at
a digital screen for hours at a time can wear on the eyes.
According to a recent survey1 from the American Optometric
Association (AOA), 85 percent of parents say their children use an
electronic device up to four hours a day. And, in a survey2
conducted by The Vision Council, more than a third of adults in the U.S.
say they spend between four to six hours a day using digital computer
devices (14 percent say they spend 10 to 12 hours a day looking at
digital screens). With more people of all ages looking at digital
screens for long periods of time each day, one has to wonder how this
impacts the health of the eyes…and if there are any issues associated
with the prolonged use of looking at digital screens. The answer is yes.
In fact, digital eye strain is the most common computer-related
repetitive strain injury, exceeding carpal tunnel and tendonitis3.
Digital eye strain is caused by the overuse of digital devices such as
computers and smartphones. Since these electronic devices are designed
to be used and held within close range of the eyes, after a while, the
eyes become strained as they continue to refocus to process the images
on the digital screen. According to organizations like The Vision
Council, more than 70 percent of Americans don't know or don't believe
they are at risk for digital eye strain; however, anyone who is in front
of a digital screen is vulnerable. Red eyes, twitching eyes, dry eyes,
blurred vision, headaches, neck pain, decreased productivity and more
work errors, fatigue from staring at a digital screen, and straining to
see small fonts and images are some of the signs and symptoms that occur
when experiencing digital eye strain.
"In our fast-paced society, most people use a computer throughout the
day while they're at work, and they also go online to communicate with
friends, read books, and even pay bills," said Dr. Richard Hom,
optometric director for WellPoint. "It's just the way we operate in the
21st century. Nevertheless, people can stay digitally
connected and also maintain the health of their eyes."
Dr. Hom suggests the following tips for avoiding digital eye strain:
1-Follow the "20-20-20 rule"-Be mindful of the amount of
time that is spent looking at a computer screen without taking a break.
Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something that is
20 feet away. Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the
eye and reduces eye fatigue.4
2-Reduce glare-People often see reflections from objects around
their computer on their computer screen. Install an anti-glare screen on
the computer monitor to reduce glare on the screen. Cover windows with
drapes and blinds, and use a computer hood to block some of the overhead
and peripheral light. Get anti-reflective (AR) coating on eyeglass
lenses. AR coating works by decreasing the amount of light that is
reflected off the front and back surfaces of the eyeglass lenses5.
3-Work in proper lighting-When looking at a digital screen, the
surrounding light should be half as bright as what is typically found in
most offices6. Try to position the computer screen so windows
are on the side (instead of in front or behind) the computer screen. If
the interior lighting is an issue, consider reducing the number of
fluorescent tubes that are installed above the computer. Consider
turning off the overhead fluorescent lights in the office and use lamps
that povide halogen or incandescent lighting, or switch to lower
4-Blink often- People tend to blink less often when they look at
a computer screen - approximately one third less often as they normally
blink - and a lot of the blinking that takes place when looking at a
digital screen are only partial lid closures7. Blinking less
often can cause the eyes to become dry. To reduce the chances of
experiencing dry eyes when looking at a digital screen, try this
exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing the eyes very
slowly, as if falling asleep8. This will moisten the eyes,
and it will also help the eyes refocus9.
5-Revise the work space- When working on a computer, people often
look back and forth between the computer screen and a printed page,
which can cause eye strain. To alleviate the stress and strain on the
eyes, put the printed pages on a copy stand that is next to the computer
monitor10. Make sure the paper on the copy stand is well-lit
by using a desk lamp. Poor posture can also lead to problems with
clearly seeing a digital screen. Consider purchasing ergonomic furniture
where the computer screen is positioned 20 to 24 inches from the eyes11.
The center of the digital screen should be 10 to 15 degrees below the
6-Get a regular comprehensive eye exam - According to the
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), computer
users should have eye exams once a year. Before the exam, be sure to
measure the distance between the eyes and the digital screen. Share that
measurement with the eye care provider, and remember to let the doctor
know how often computers and smartphones are used. People who have a
plan such as WellPoint's Blue View Vision? plan have access to a broad
and diverse national network of more than 30,000 doctors and more than
25,000 locations across the U.S. who offer comprehensive exams that
address digital eye strain.
Although the signs and symptoms associated with digital eye strain can
be uncomfortable, there are a number of easy solutions that can fix this
problem. Following one or more of the tips listed above will relieve the
strain that is put on the eyes during this digital era.
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint (NYSE: WLP) is one of the nation's leading health benefits
companies. We believe that our health connects us all. So we focus on
being a valued health partner and delivering quality products and
services that give members access to the care they need. With nearly 68
million people served by our affiliated companies including nearly 36
million enrolled in our family of health plans, we can make a real
difference to meet the needs of our diverse customers. We're an
independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We
serve members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; and as the Blue
Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia,
Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas
City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue
Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding
counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in
selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern
Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In most of these
service areas, our plans do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue
Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and Empire
Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service
areas). We also serve customers in other states through our Amerigroup
and CareMore subsidiaries. To find out more about us, go to wellpoint.com.
1-American Optometric Association's (AOA) 2013 American Eye-Q® survey
3-Screens, Phones, Tables and More: Keeping Your Eyes Safe in a Digital
Age, The Vision Council.
5- Computer Eye Strain: 10 Steps for Relief, http://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/irritated.htm
6-Computer Eye Strain: 10 Steps for Relief, http://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/irritated.htm
12- Computer Workstations, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety
& Health Administration, www.osha.gov
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