Here’s a stat that you and your patients cannot ignore today: Seven in 10 adults experience discomfort that comes with long hours of digital device use, according to the Vision Council’s “Hindsight is 20/20: Protecting Your Eyes from Digital Devices – 2015 Digital Eye Strain Report.” Despite this alarming statistic, many dismiss it as “normal.” Strained eyes are merely a sign of the times. But here’s the thing, extended exposure to bright light, screen glare and longer periods of device not only create varying degrees of physical discomfort, it also can contribute to productivity loss, sluggishness and stress.
This is something that Andrew J. Neukirch, O.D., takes very seriously. At his Carillon Vision Care practice in Glenview, Ill., Dr. Neukirch discusses the myriad visual needs at work or school with all of his patients. He inquires about computer use, iPad use, phone use, etc. “We utilize large monitors, displays and an iPad in all exam lanes, and even have a large touch-screen monitor and digital mobile device charging station at the front desk to get the conversation going,” he says.
One of the key components in his mission to battle eyes strained by digital devices is CooperVision’s Biofinity Energys™ with Digital Zone Optics™ lens, a pioneering contact lenses specifically created from the ground up for today’s millions of digital device users. Combining breakthrough optical properties, a moisture-retaining material and a smooth, naturally wettable surface for long lasting comfort, the patent-pending contact lenses are designed for all-day wear. The lenses help eyes better adapt, so they can seamlessly and continuously shift focus between digital devices and offline activities.
The issue of eye-strain doesn’t discriminate by age. The Vision Council’s “Hindsight is 20/20” report shows that more than a third of Millennials spend nine or more hours each day on digital devices,. Not surprisingly, 68 percent to 88 percent report eye tiredness and dryness symptoms, according to the “YouGov European Eye Fatigue Study.”
The Biofinity Energys™ help by incorporating a smooth, naturally wettable surface design with a special rounded edge. This helps reduce interaction between the lens and the inside of the eyelids, improving long-lasting wearing comfort.
Dr. Neukirch presents the lens and it’s benefits over whatever habitual lens the patient had been previously wearing, which usually means the likelihood of decreased fatigue after using a computer screen all day. He stresses how the optics are specifically designed to reduce the strain on their eye muscles while they work on digital devices.
“Our patients have been generally excited to be a part of something new and possibly game-changing”
“If there’s an upgrade into a more breathable or the addition of UV-protection versus what they have been previously wearing, I’ll bring that up as well,” he says. “I also make the patient aware that I’ve been wearing the lens successfully myself the past couple of weeks. I’ll ask them to consciously think about how tired their eyes feel the first couple of days at the end of the day whether at school or work. Our patients have been generally excited to be a part of something new and possibly game-changing.”
At the center of the Biofinity Energys™ usefulness are two key elements in design a Digital Zone Optics™ lens design and its Aquaform® Technology. The Digital Zone Optics™ design integrates multiple front-surface aspheric curves across the entire optical zone. This simulates what’s known as positive power in the center of the lens, helping reduce strain on the eyes’ ciliary muscle as a person moves their gaze from on-screen to off-screen and back with less effort.
The Aquaform® Technology attracts and binds water throughout the lens material to retain moisture even during times of reduced blinking, which is common with device use. This helps alleviate dry eyes, providing the hydration, breathability, and softness that healthy eyes deserve.
“I’ve been providing a set of trials to nearly every conventional distance spherical monthly CL patient in the practice,” Dr. Neukirch says. “This demographic in our practice is mostly young adults aged 18 to early 40s. It is safe to say that this demographic is likely, on average, our heaviest digital device users.”
Dr. Neukirch says Carillon Vision Care typically only fits minors in one day, but for parents who want a planned replacement lens for whatever reason (cost, their own familiarity, they feel dailies are wasteful), it’s a great healthy choice that doesn’t break the bank.
“Energys has already become our ‘go-to’ monthly spherical lens for any new fits,” Dr. Neukirch says. “There’s no other monthly contact lens that performs like it.”