If you’re reading this on your smartphone, tablet or computer, be sure to blink a few times. Your eyes will thank you.

Americans are spending more time using digital devices of all kinds, and it’s taking its toll on our eyes, according to a report by the Vision Council.

Among the findings: 1 in 10 people say they spend at least three-fourths of their waking hours on a digital device. And 65 percent of Americans experience digital eye strain — including dry, irritated eyes, blurred vision, neck and back pain and headaches.

“Our eyes are not built to stare at digital screens all day,” Justin Bazan, the council’s medical adviser, said in a news release accompanying the report, “Eyes Overexposed: Digital Device Dilemma,” which was based on a survey of more than 10,000 adults.

Perhaps those most in need of a digital detox are people in their 20s, who tend to stare at multiple screens at once. Nearly 9 out of 10 twenty-somethings polled use two or more devices at a time, and 73 percent reported having eye strain symptoms, the report found.

For adults in their 40s, already dealing with the challenge of trying to focus their eyesight at different distances and moving between devices, digital eye strain was a problem for 66 percent. People 50 and older weren’t spared, either. Nearly 65 percent of those in their 50s and 53 percent of people age 60 and older experience eye strain symptoms.

What to do about all this digital eyeballing?

The council suggests:

• Wear computer eyewear that can block harmful blue light.

• Take a 20-second break from the screen every 20 minutes during which you look at something 20 feet away.

• Make sure you keep the computer screen at least an arm’s length away.

• Bump up the text size.


“To Your Health” offers quick doses of health news several times a week.