CBS News 7 January 2015
Most Americans could hardly imagine — or get through — their day without screen time. But even as devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones have improved our productivity and quality of life, they are also the leading cause of a serious and growing health problem.
According to the Vision Council, a company that represents manufacturers and suppliers in the optical industry, as much as 95 percent of Americans spend two or more hours each day using a personal digital device. Nearly one-third of adults — 30 percent — spend nine or more hours using a digital device. This habit puts millions of us at risk for digital eye strain.
The study found 61 percent of Americans say they experience eye problems that include dryness, irritation and blurred vision.
The report, released Wednesday at the CES 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, finds Americans look at their mobile phones an average of 100 times each day. We’re addicted and either don’t know or care how much damage phone time may be doing to our eyes, not to mention our relationships and psyche. Digital addiction, or “nomophobia” — the fear of being without your mobile device — is even contributing to physical health problems like chronic back pain.
It also turns out that risk for eye strain is generational: the younger a person is, the more likely they are to rely on technology and spend greater amounts of time staring at a phone, tablet or computer screen.
According to the report, 1 in 4 children use digital devices for more than three hours each day, but only 30 percent of parents express concern over the impact extensive use might have on a child.
A large majority, nearly 70 percent, of Millennials report symptoms of digital eye strain. That’s more than Baby Boomers (57 percent) and Gen Xers (63 percent).