By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
August 22, 2018
Your patients may need more education on digital eye fatigue syndrome, and the products you sell to relieve it.
Americans spend nearly half of their waking hours (42 percent) looking at a screen, it’s been revealed, according to a new CooperVision study of 2,000 people into the screen time habits of Americans.
Assuming the average American gets eight hours of beauty rest a night, that means they spend six hours and 43 minutes a day looking at a screen, or 7,956 days of their life. And it’s only growing, as 79 percent of survey respondents report that their screen time has increased in the past five years, with 41 percent saying it has increased “a lot.”
The Vision Council reports that people exhibit the following symptoms of digital eye strain1:
(More than 100% due to people reporting multiple symptoms)
The Vision Council also reported the following symptoms were observed by parents after their children were exposed to two or more hours of screen time:
Some numbers that surprised us were that 69 percent of American adults say they did not know that eyewear could be prescribed to protect their eyes from the effects of digital eye strain and 87 percent reported they did not know contact lenses could be prescribed to protect them from the effects of digital eye strain. This shows that we still have a long way to go in educating people how we can help them.
Also interesting were the reasons people gave when asked why they are not using eyewear to protect from digital eye strain. The top three “excuses” were:
1. They don’t think a solution is necessary
2. Their eyecare provider didn’t recommend a digital eye strain solution
3. They are too expensive
To summarize, people are symptomatic with digital eye strain, most people are unaware there are solutions to help protect them from digital eye strain, ECPs are not prescribing digital eye strain solutions, and when they do, patients think they are too expensive.
We need to address this with a straightforward four-step fix.
1) Educate patients about digital eye strain with marketing materials
2) Make sure our pre-examination history questionnaire addresses digital eye strain
3) Doctors need to prescribe digital eye strain solutions in the exam room
4) Our opticals need to have digital eye strain solutions at all price points
Now that we know the scope of the problem and the solution, take this week to make sure all four steps are in place and working effectively in your practice.