Attitudes of Optometrists in the UK and Ireland to Digital Eye Strain and Approaches to Assessment and Management

Patrick Moore, James S. Wolffsohn, Amy Sheppard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the attitudes and understanding of optometrists in the UK and Ireland towards Digital Eye Strain (DES), and to examine related practice patterns.

Methods

An anonymous online questionnaire was developed, covering attitude and understanding of DES, examination of patients who may be experiencing DES and approaches to management options. The questionnaire was promoted to UK and Ireland optometrists via professional bodies and local and area optometric committees.

Results

406 responses were included in the analysis. Most respondents agreed that DES was an important concern for optometrists (88.9%). 91.4% reported they felt confident in discussing possible symptoms of DES and management options; this was weakly and negatively associated with number of years qualified (rs = −0.198, p ≤ 0.001). Estimations of the proportion of patients affected by DES were lower than reports in the literature (median 25%, IQR 10%–50%). Most respondents always (60.6%) or frequently (21.9%) inquired about device usage in routine case history taking, and also asked follow-up questions, although 29.3% only asked about the presence of symptoms half the time or less. Advising on regular breaks (84.0%), lubricants (55.7%) and environment/set up (69.2%) were felt to be extremely or very important by most respondents. Advising on specialist spectacle lenses, specifically blue filtering designs, was considered extremely or very important by 34.2% and 15.2%, respectively.

Conclusion

Given the agreement that DES is a significant issue causing frequent and persistent symptoms, and practitioners reported high levels of confidence in discussing DES, patients can expect to receive advice on symptoms and management from their optometrist. Simple management strategies were felt to be most important to advise on, with more uncertainty linked to specialist spectacle lenses.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Early online date21 Sep 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Authors. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of College of Optometrists.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

Keywords

  • computer vision syndrome
  • digital eye strain
  • optometrists

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