The constant use of digital displays has become a way of life these days and is radically changing the demands being made on our eyes. More and more people – whether they are eyeglass or contact lens wearers or do not yet have prescription eyewear – are now complaining of the effect this is having on their health. However, most of them do not directly associate these symptoms with their eyes. After all, what has a stiff neck got to do with vision? Or a headache after using a tablet computer for a long time?
Our eyes are not intended for the (steadily increasing) use of digital mobile devices. Studies show that more than two-thirds of adults who regularly use digital devices experience physical problems that are related to eye strain. One study from 2012/13 involving around 7000 participants in the USA shows that 33 percent of the persons surveyed spent between 3 and 5 hours in front of and with digital devices. At 62 percent, smartphones top the list of the most commonly used mobile devices.1
Test your eyes
What does this mean in concrete terms for your eyes? It means stress and strain. To check whether your eyes are being subjected to digital stress, ZEISS has now developed an eye strain app that checks precisely this. It is available for both Apple and Android devices.
The amount of eye strain is determined using a near/far vision test that calculates how long your eyes need each time they have to focus on a distant object and then on a display again. If the test shows that you are exposed to a high degree of strain, you should seek the advice of an eye care professional. He or she can offer you a lens that has been specially developed for usage with smartphones, tablets, etc. ZEISS Digital Lenseshave are sharply focused on the conditions we experience in our everyday digital lives.
The app offers not only the eye strain test, but also other features such as explanatory animations on the subject of eye strain or the integrated search for an eye care professional near you.
What is digital eye strain?
The natural lens of the eye loses its elasticity with age and, as a result, has to put more effort into focusing on close-up objects. Even 30- to 45-year-olds may already notice that the need to constantly concentrate on a small screen can place considerable stress on their eyes. Eye strain or headache is the result. This problem is further heightened by the small size of the fonts and images on most devices and by the shorter distance at which the device is held compared to a newspaper or book (30 vs. 40 centimeters): in other words, the user is closer to the surface being read – an unnatural posture that can quickly lead to physical strain and other complaints.
The eye strain app can be found by searching for "eye strain" in the iTunes app store or the Google play store.
Here are the direct links to the app:
1 The Vision Council reports on digital eye strain, 2012 & 2013