A recent survey titled ‘Asia-Pacific Eye Health Survey’ conducted by Alcon Laboratories (a Novartis’ spin-off) has thrown an alarming co-relation between digital devices and eye health. The survey reveals that the rising use of digital devices has emerged as a cause for concern for eye health.
Coinciding the World Sight Day, Alcon had conducted this survey along with other eye care organizations to recognize the need for ‘Eyecare Everywhere’. The survey was conducted across five countries (Australia, China, India, South Korea, and Taiwan) to gain insights into consumers’ eye health knowledge and behavior when it comes to vision care as well as their current eye health.
The survey points out that India, among the countries surveyed, has the highest proportion of consumers who spend the most time on their digital devices across the region. The survey indicates that about 52% and 48% of those surveyed in India used computers or smartphone devices respectively for 4 hours or more every day.
More than 50% of respondents claim that they often experience eye discomfort after using digital devices and the India results showed that overall, the most common discomforts consumers experience often are tired eyes (31%), red eye (23%) and dry eyes (22%).
While vision discomfort is a common occurrence across the region, the top symptoms vary from country to country. In India the top three vision-related symptoms are severe eye and head pain (34% respondents); difficulty to read things from far (33%) and finally hazy or blurred vision (32%). In comparison, Chinese respondents, for example, suffer the maximum from hazy blurred vision, difficulty to read things from far (30%) and difficulty to read things from close-up (24%). In fact, Indians were the only ones to highlight severe eye and head pain as a (top three) symptom. This was not seen among the respondents from other countries.
The survey also highlighted that compared to five years ago, 30% of Indian consumers felt that their eye health had declined, 42% claimed that their vision remained the same and only the remaining 28% respondents stated that their vision had improved.
“Sight is such an important sense for our daily lives, yet many of us do not take the necessary actions to protect our vision,” said Sandeep Bothra, Country Head – Surgical, Alcon Laboratories-India. “The survey results are worrying as they highlight a lack of awareness about the importance of seeking help or treatment when it comes to protecting our vision, and this needs to be addressed.”
In a few separate findings, researchers have deduced that prolonged exposure to blue light can actually contribute to photochemical damage, which can potentially harm one’s retinal cells and make one susceptible to conditions like age-related macular degeneration.
The age group that is the most at-risk is children. Playing apps and games and surfing the internet is fun, and most children lack the self-control to create limits for themselves. Although the symptoms of digital eye strain are temporary, long-term exposure to blue light can be quite serious and can cause serious vision degeneration.