April 22, 2024

Just a few weeks ago The Vision Council hosted the official health lounge at South by Southwest (SXSW), and in-between exploring the city, eating delish local fare and making connections with great people, we educated conference-goers on the symptoms of digital eye strain, the effects of blue light on the eyes and the eyewear solutions available. Lifestyle expert, style guru and ambassador to The Vision Council, Jenn Falik, joined us in Austin, TX, to help educate SXSW-goers and the media not only of the amazing health benefits of wearing frames with specialized lenses featuring blue light-filtering and anti-reflective properties, but also about how these lenses – which can be made with or without a prescription, by the way – can be put into almost any pair of frame! That means you don’t have to sacrifice your style for your eye heath. It’s a win-win! Check out Jenn’s experience below, and see how she incorporated specialized lenses into her favorite pairs of frames. For more information on digital eye strain, visit thevisioncouncil.org.

Jenn Falik in The T-EYE-me Out Lounge at South by Southwest

Eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain. Yup, just another day in the life of a girl (yeah, I know, I am a hop, skip and teeny tiny jump away from- gulp- 40 but in my mind, I am still like 18 so, by girl, I mean me) who spends way too much time staring at digital devices.

Oh- you can relate? Thought so.

Research shows that more than 80% of Americans report using digital devices for more than 2 hours a day- and I am guessing that, if you are reading this, you are probably like me and use digital devices exponentially more than that. (2 hours? That is just my middle-of-the-night dive down the rabbit hole of Instagram session.)

The result of all this screen time- in addition to the obvious, like over-posting pics of your kids on social media- is so serious that The Vision Council, a non-profit organization that serves as a global voice for all things related to eyewear and eyecare, has made digital eye strain a key focus for 2017- and invited me to partner with them to spread the word.

So- I have good news and bad news. I will start with the bad news….

Unless you are crazy disciplined and can survive on less than 2 hours of screen time a day, you are susceptible to daily discomforts like dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches and neck/shoulder pain.

On top of that, digital devices emit blue light, and blue light can penetrate deep into the eye. Studies suggest that overexposure to blue light may be connected to sleep disruption- since it suppresses the natural release of melatonin- and long-term vision problems. You can be groggy, irritable and uncomfortable- but hey- you made it to the next level in Candy Crush (or whatever the kids are playing these days.).

So, there’s that.

But now- as promised- the good news!

I, like over 73% of people out there according to a recent survey, had no idea that you can protect your eyes from effects of digital eye strain with eyewear. Specialized lenses featuring blue light filters and anti-reflective treatments to minimize the effects of blue light exposure and digital eye strain are, in fact, a thing.

You can get them with or without a prescription.

And, these lenses can be incorporated into ANY pair of frames.

SCORE! A reason to acquire more of my favorite accessory- eyeglasses… Even though I tend to wear contacts 90% of the time, I love nothing more than an excuse to sport (sans prescription) specs as often as possible purely for styling purposes.

The Vision Council recommends visiting your eyecare provider for an annual eye exam to get your eyes checked and discuss digital device usage.   I recommend that following the aforementioned exam, you seek out 3 awesome frames. Have your eyecare provider hook said frames up with blue light-filtering and anti-reflective lenses.

Keep a pair at your desk, a pair next to your bed, and a pair in your go-to daily carry-all. Your body- and, if relevant, your kids who have to deal with the miserable human become after a sleepless night- will thank you, big time.

(And yes, I know, 1 pair may be totally sufficient. But whenever I am shopping for glasses, I can never narrow it down to just one frame. So setting the bar at 3 will make me feel less excessive when I undoubtedly end up with like 5.)

For more info on blue light and digital eye strain, click HERE.