Headaches. Dry and itchy eyes. Blurred vision, sore shoulders, muscle spasms and involuntary twitches. All of these are symptoms of digital eye strain caused by hours of staring at screens.
It's no secret that technology causes some unique health problems, but what is alarming is the scale.
A brand new survey from The Vision Council found that 90% of Americans look at digital screens - a computer, smartphone or tablet - for more than two hours per day. Nearly 60% of those people use their devices for more than 5 hours per day, with 70% of them using two or more of their devices at the same time.
That's certainly a lot of screen time. What are the consequences? More than 65% of Americans have had symptoms of digital eye strain, including neck, shoulder and back pain, eye strain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes.
To make matters worse, it's happening to folks at a younger age. Young adults in their 20s and 30s are at the most risk, as they spend the most time on their gadgets - and more of them simultaneously.
It's a problem that is on the rise, but luckily, there are things you can do to save yourself the headache. Surprisingly, 27% of Americans don't know that you can prevent symptoms by wearing special glasses designed to protect against digital eye strain.
Here are a few other tips on how to prevent digital eye strain:
- Don't get too close to your computer screen. Instead of squinting and bringing the screen closer to your face, just make the text bigger.
- Don't tilt your screen, or your head. Ideally, you want your screens to be just below eye level and directly in front of your face. Also, don't tilt your head down. It's the leading culprit for a sore neck and shoulders.
- Don't turn off all the lights. That means your eyes have to work harder to adjust to the difference in lighting levels.
- Take breaks and remember to blink. There's something called the 20-20-20- rule. "Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away."
For more information and stats about digital eye strain in 2016, click here to download the full study from The Vision Council.