It’s time to give those eyes a rest – our experts weigh in on screen time

It’s time to give those eyes a rest – our experts weigh in on screen time It’s time to give those eyes a rest – our experts weigh in on screen time

August 20, 20192 min read

August is more than just the time of year when kids go back to school. It’s also Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month and a good time to talk about screen time and how much kids and adults are spending on digital devices?

“According to a new study from United Kingdom-based eye care company Scrivens Opticians, the percentage of kids 13 to 16 years old who need glasses has nearly doubled in less than a decade.

All that ocular stimulation has apparently resulted in eye strain, blurred vision, and short-sightedness.

The researchers say 35 percent of those ages 13 to 16 needed glasses in 2018. That’s up from 20 percent in 2012. Two-thirds of those children received diagnoses of nearsightedness.

In the U.K., those children are spending 26 hours a week in front of an electronic screen, including televisions.” August 19 - Healthline

A recent poll by employee benefits company Unum found that 40 percent of U.S. adults are spending more than 12 hours a day on various digital devices such as cell phones, tablets and laptops.1 In the same study, 34 percent of people said they feel they spend too much time on their devices.

That’s a startling figure, and with that much time buried on a screen – the Unum poll also found that the habit comes with some serious side effects.

  • While respondents to the Unum poll are experiencing eye strain, they don't anticipate their use of devices to decrease much in the coming years: 
  • Top reported side effects of extended use of digital devices included sore neck, shoulders or back (31 percent), sore, tired, burning or itchy eyes (25 percent), headache (21 percent), watery or dry eyes (20 percent), and blurred or double vision (19 percent). 
  • Women reported a higher incidence rate of each of these side effects than men.
  • Twenty-seven percent of respondents expect their use of digital devices to increase or dramatically increase in the coming five years. 
  • Younger workers expect to see the biggest increase in their device use, with 31 percent of those 18-24 and 34 percent of those 25-34 anticipating their usage of digital devices to increase or dramatically increase in next five years.

Is screen time becoming a big-time problem?

Is there an easy way to reverse or at least quell this habit?

Is the problem getting worse and what more can we expect?

And what do parents need to know now before their kids get too attached to their devices?

If you are a journalist covering this topic – let our experts help.

Anna Marko is the Senior Vice President of Dental and Vision Products at Unum. She is available to speak with media regarding the importance of vision care as part of one’s overall health and well-being. Simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.

Connect with:
  • Amy Marko
    Amy Marko Senior Vice President, Dental and Vision Products

    Amy Marko specializes in dental and vision insurance for Unum, a leading provider of workplace financial protection benefits

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