Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, screen time was on the rise. More and more people are utilizing digital devices in their daily lives, whether it’s for work or leisure. Since quarantine, those numbers have skyrocketed, and patients are feeling the impact of all that screen time. Pinakin Davey, OD, PhD, FAAO, shared what to look for and how to help in terms of clinical care.
Impact On the Eyes
There are several, well-documented ocular symptoms of prolonged screen time. Additionally, new symptoms/correlations/byproducts of increased device use continue to surface. Some of the symptoms specifically on the eyes, also known as digital eye strain (DES) or computer vision syndrome (CVS), include:
Dr. Davey shares what he believes to be the best clinical approach to helping patients reduce their symptoms of DES.
- Regular eye exams – identify and correct any visual acuity or ocular surface issues.
- Education – help your patients understand the impact screens can have on their eyes, how they can set up their devices/spaces for optimal viewing, and what they can do to strike a balance between on- and off-screen time.
- Symptom management – offer immediate care for the symptoms you can, like dryness, burning, and irritation or blurred vision.
- Nutrition – there are several studies linking nutrition to improved symptoms of DES, including overall sleep quality, headache frequency, and eye strain and fatigue. Dr. Davey suggests doing the research and discussing nutritional options for your patients.
Nutritional Intervention for Digital Eye Strain
As mentioned, there are several clinical studies that demonstrate the positive impact of nutrition on DES. Some of the ingredients that can help include:
- Zeaxanthin – this critical antioxidant is found in the macula and helps protect central vision. In collaboration with lutein, it absorbs harmful blue light, the kind of light emitted by screens and often blamed for ocular symptoms of screen time like eye strain.
- Lutein – Another critical antioxidant found in the macula that helps protect peripheral vision. Lutein partners with zeaxanthin to help absorb the harmful blue light emitted by screens.
- Bilberry extract – this ingredient was included in a clinical trial that demonstrated improvements in eye and mental fatigue in humans.
- Omega-3s – high-quality Omega-3s are often included in care protocols for patients with occasional dry eye. Because some of the symptoms are similar in DES and occasional dry eye, Omega-3s can be a good nutritional addition for those who spend more than 6 hours a day on screens.
EyePromise created an eye vitamin specifically for patients suffering from symptoms of DES. EyePromise Screen Shield Pro was crafted to deliver nutritional support for patients who spend time on screens spanning from the typical working professional to the extreme screen consumer like gamers, developers, and designers. This vitamin contains the ingredients mentioned above, along with additional supporting nutrients for eye and overall health. Designed for those ages 18 and up, this one-a-day softgel makes for an easy addition to a patient’s daily routine and complements a daily multi-vitamin.
Regardless of the pandemic, screen time is increasing in nearly every facet of life, making Dr. Davey’s article clinically relevant and timely. Utilizing his suggestions can help you elevate your practice and improve your patient outcomes. EyePromise Screen Shield Pro can give you an easy, innovative way to offer your patients nutrition for screen time without adding to their grocery list.