Enterprises Must Address the Effects of Mobile Devices on Employee Vision Health

Wednesday, January 7, 2015.

Recent research by The Vision Council has highlighted the prolonged use of digital devices as a cause of eye strain among 61% of adults in the US.

The report, which was released today at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, revealed that a staggering 93.3% of Americans spend two or more hours every day using digital devices, contributing to the condition.

According to The Vision Council, work accounts for 44% of the time spent on activities associated with the digital device use which can cause eye strain. This will likely raise concerns for many businesses, especially as employees in a vast majority of sectors are becoming increasingly immersed in their jobs by leveraging their smartphones and tablets outside the workplace.

Smartphones were identified as the second most common (69.4%) digital devices used within the research, just behind television (76.6%). The report states, "For smaller digital devices [such as smartphones], they tend to be held 8 to 12 inches from the eyes, even further fostering conditions for digital eye strain."

The statistics surrounding the wide-spread condition are unsurprising when taking into consideration mobile trends such as BYOD, which has seen organisations of all sizes encouraging their employees to use personal devices to carry out work-related activities outside of the office, as well as industries which have introduced the need for frequent use of mobile devices to conduct tasks in the field.

Dora Adamopoulos, OD, medical adviser to The Vision Council said, "We look at our mobile phones more than 100 times a day, yet people aren't understanding how this constant use of technology is impacting vision health. Digital eye strain is likely to continue to grow as a health concern. However, there are tools and products that can alleviate or even protect against the onset of symptoms."

It is certain that there is a lack of awareness around the growing causes of digital eye strain, which is characterised as temporary physical discomfort felt after two or more hours in front of a digital screen and is marked by symptoms such as redness, irritation or dry eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, back and neck pain and headaches.

Advice to help relieve digital eye strain includes increasing the text size on devices to better define the content on-screen, as well as adjusting the brightness settings. Additionally, lens technologies used in computer eyewear are designed for optimising and protecting vision when viewing content on screens, and can be provided with or without a prescription. This eyewear utilises different tints, lenses and materials, tailored to different lifestyle needs.

As younger generations who are far better acquainted with digital technologies become more prominent in the workplace, and mobile trends continue to proliferate, organisations may need to take measures to actively combat these issues before they become more severe for their mobile employees.