May 16, 2017 6:35 pm
Updated: May 17, 2017 8:08 pm

71% of Albertans are dealing with digital eye strain: study

WATCH ABOVE: A new survey commissioned by Alberta optometrists found adults spend 10 hours a day on digital devices and it's affecting our eye health. Emily Mertz explains.

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Are you dealing with blurred vision or eye irritation? You could be suffering from digital eye strain.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the Alberta Association of Optometrists, 71 per cent of Albertans are dealing with symptoms of digital eye strain.

“The most common symptoms that are associated with digital eye strain are eye irritation, double vision, excessive tearing or dry eyes, or excessive blinking or squinting,” Edmonton optometrist Dr. Annu Kaul said.

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WATCH: Hours spent on electronic devices leading to eye strain 

Kaul added that this is something you want to get on top off right away, but there usually is a simple fix.

“The best way to deal with this is to visit your optometrist, and most of the time it’s something simple where we recommend computer glasses,” Kaul said.

“About 78 per cent of Edmontonians are not aware that computer glasses are available.”

The survey also found that Alberta adults are averaging more than 10 hours a day on digital devices, with more than half saying that a screen is one of the first things they see when they wake up (56 per cent) and before they go to sleep (52 per cent).

READ MORE: Too much tablet and phone use could put young children at risk of eye problems 

“There’s some very basic things we can do, one of them is the 20/20/20 rule we tell our patients to go by,” Kaul said.

“After doing 20 minutes of computer work, look 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.”

READ MORE: Too much screen time damaging to the eyes 

Kaul recommends that you position your computer slightly below eye level and at approximately arm’s length away.

“Usually, just a simple eye exam with an optometrist can help diagnose, treat, and help prevent diseases that are affecting the vision systems,” Kaul said.

Adults should be having eye exams every two years, while children and anyone over 65 should be having one every year. Visits to an optometrist for eye-related treatments and emergencies are covered for all Albertans.

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