If you’ve been looking at your phone or working on a computer and noticed your eyes started hurting, a recent report by the Vision Council suggests you are probably one of 70 percent of U.S. adults who experience some form of eye strain due to prolonged use of electronic devices.
Symptoms associated with this new widespread occurrence include dry eyes, blurred vision, headache and pain around the neck and shoulders caused by daily use with devices such as laptops, televisions and smartphones.
The report states that an estimated 2.35 billion personal computers and mobile phones were shipped globally in 2013, with an increasing percentage of adults who spend 10 or more hours in front of the screen.
While this study by the Vision Council explains a common discomfort among many, it also offers a solution. Experts say the strain on the eyes because users don’t blink as much when reading on screen, so the solution would be to blink every 10 seconds or take a break every 20 minutes.
Other experts suggest a more technological solution: special lenses made for looking at screens, an item displayed at the most recent International Consumer Electronics Show.
Another solution entirely is one that could be applied to not just those with sore eyes, a distressing epidemic that is bound to tear apart families across the world, but also for anyone spending an excess amount of time on electronic devices.
The solution: Switch the power button off. Log off Facebook. Take a walk outside instead of watching Netflix. Go out and experience the real world, not the virtual one.
It is appalling to think that there is an emerging market of eyewear to keep people attached to computers and fight the body’s response to look away and take a break. This scenario is one that science fiction writers have had nightmares about, one that can repulse even the new generation, seen in Pixar’s “WALL-E.”
At what point will society stop and realize this technologic trend and its effects on either our health or society?
It is understandable to get caught up in the digital age of convenience and social networking, but is the technological wonder really worth the inconvenience? It may seem moderate and unnoticed at first, but a possible series of remedies to fix the problems caused by new inventions only lead to a downward slope of more problems down the line.
Alex Rosenthal is a sophomore majoring in mass communications.