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Are digital devices impacting tertiary students' eyesight?

07 Jun 17

New data gathered by Massey University found that almost half of tertiary students had undiagnosed vision conditions.

Essilor Vision Foundation recently rallied a team of optometrists and screened more than 70 students, looking for undiagnosed eye issues.

What they found has optometrists concerned.

Optometrist Maile Tarsau says 45% of those in the study had issues that had gone undiagnosed, which is staggeringly higher than results found in previous screenings of Primary school students.

Tarsau says the key difference was in the higher use of digital devices in Tertiary students.

“One of the most noticeable differences in the university data was the heavy daily use of digital devices such as mobile phones which was up to 12 hours per day and on average 6.4 hours per day.”

She says on top of eye issues, students with high screen times presented painful symptoms.

“Many of the students presented with symptomatic complaints such as headaches, delayed focus, and eye fatigue – which can be associated with prolonged exposure to the blue light from device screens.”

Among other students, there were an array of diagnoses and one student who was completely unaware of being colour blind, says Tarsau.

“We found the students had a range of conditions including one student who didn’t realise he was colour blind which is not uncommon as patients who are born with the condition and have no base for comparison can accept it as completely normal.”

Students suffering from device-related issues were given a special type of lens intended to relieve the symptoms of heavy device use.

The study will expand its reach across the country and hopes to further examine the trends discovered by Massey University.

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