By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
ROB Professional Editors
Sept. 27, 2017
A new study commissioned by CooperVision, Inc., and announced at Vision Expo West, reveals that while the explosive use of digital device screens may pose vision challenges, only a fraction of U.S. eyecare professionals (ECP) are talking about these issues.
Only six percent of U.S. consumers reported that they had spoken with an ECP regarding concerns about time using screens. However, 64 percent of contact lens wearers, and 60 percent of glasses wearers, reported they would be very interested, or somewhat interested, in exploring ways to reduce eye strain with their ECP.
The study also cast light on terms used by consumers to describe how their eyes feel after spending long periods of time staring at digital screens – words and phrases that ECPs may employ to spark a conversation. These included tired (60 percent), dry (18 percent), blurry (17 percent) and strained (9 percent). To a lesser extent, words included fatigued, cloudy, scratchy, heavy, burning and irritated. With 57 separate words or phrases reported in total, this points to a broad group of indicators, dependent on each person.
Among all surveyed adults, 16 percent report being concerned about the amount of time spent looking at screens in an average day. That jumps to 25 percent among contact lens wearers.
An internet search of computer glasses turned up these two articles that our patients would find. We’ve summarized the content of each article with bullet points.
Computer Glasses: Relieving Computer Eye Strain
• Start with a comprehensive eye exam to rule out vision problems and update your prescription.
• Consider purchasing customized computer glasses.
• Consider lens coatings and tints.
• Buy your computer glasses from a knowledgeable eyecare professional.
Do Computer Glasses Really Work?
• Use the 20-20-20 rule.
• Computer glasses are designed to make it easier to look at screens for longer periods of time by reducing glare, increasing contrast and maximizing what you see through the lenses.
• Not all AR coatings are the same.
• If you experience eyestrain when spending time on a digital screen, computer glasses are probably worth it.
Now walk through your office. Look and listen as you walk through. Does your internal marketing reflect the content found in these two articles combined with the words and phrases that you and your staff may employ to spark a conversation such as:
• tired (60 percent)
• dry (18 percent)
• blurry (17 percent)
• strained (9 percent)
• or fatigued, cloudy, scratchy, heavy, burning, and irritated
You don’t need to recreate the wheel. Here are three ads that could be used in our offices to open the conversation into helping our patients perform more comfortably in the workplace.
Where is the best place to put these ads? Should they be put on walls as posters, on your front windows, on a rotating “PowerPoint” in your reception area, on digital screens in your office, or as handouts to patients? The answer is …. Yes. Yes to all. Use them creatively.
But don’t stop there. Create scripts to allow staff to use these ads as a conversation starters with patients. Remember the purpose is not to acknowledge that patients have seen the ad, but to use the ad as a conversation starter to learn more about how we can help improve the lives of our patients.
When patients talk, we learn. We learn about how they use their eyes in their daily lives. We especially learn about when their visual system is not performing at maximum performance levels. We learn how we can help improve the lives of our patients through the use of innovative technology.