Between long hours in front of a computer screen, tablets, smartphones and televisions, how much time are Canadians really spending in front of screens?
According to a new survey commissioned by Alcon Canada, Canadians are self-reporting spending an average of nearly 11 hours per day looking at screens and it could be affecting the quality of their vision, with up to 25 per cent of Canadians suffering from an eye condition called dry eye.
“Dry eye is becoming one of the most common patient complaints I see as an optometrist,” says Dr. Judy Parks. “More and more, I’m seeing patients in my clinic who are suffering from sore, tired eyes and blurry vision. They come in thinking they need to adjust their glasses prescription, but in many cases, they’re actually suffering from dry eye due to the hours they’re spending in front of screens, which is impacting eye health and vision across all ages.”
The study of 1,500 Canadians, conducted by research firm Leger, showed that two-thirds of Canadians (67 per cent) say that their eyes get tired from looking at a screen. Digital eyestrain, a condition caused by spending too much time in front of screens, is among the largest contributing factors toward dry eye, which occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or when they produce tears without the proper quality.
“Studies looking at the effects of long-term computer use on the eyes suggest that digital eye strain is a form of evaporative dry eye, which is found when glands in the eye are inflamed or clogged. As a result, tears evaporate on the surface of the eye, which can cause them to feel dry, tired or irritated,” says Dr. Parks. “For those who are looking for relief, I typically recommend Systane Complete, an all-in-one eye drop that can address all types of dry eye, whether it’s caused by screen time or another factor.”
Where is all that time going? Canadians say they spend the most time on computer screens with an average of 4.2 hours per day, followed by an average of 3.1 hours per day spent looking at TV screens, 2.4 hours looking at cell phone screens, and 1.5 hours looking at tablets.