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Protecting Eyes From Digital Device Use

Posted June 20, 2018

What Can We Do for Healthy Eyes?

Our eyesight is critical to almost everything we do, yet most of us do not consider eye health in the same way we do other healthy habits, such as eating right and exercising. Although we may use sunglasses when outside, it is doubtful that we are thinking about the exposure to light wavelengths that can potentially damage our eyes. Even further from our priorities are the effects of light from digital devices, such as phones, computers and tablets. However, when asked in recent consumer survey, the reported symptoms of digital device exposure are common. 

New Digital Device Research

A new study by Kemin Health and DSM Nutritional Products found that 92% of US adults and 71% of US children ages 6 to 12 experience symptoms such as tired eyes and eye strain from the use of digital devices.1 Two-thirds (66%) of adults admit they spend too much time on their digital devices.

The type of light from sunlight and digital devices most concerning is “blue light,” or the shorter, more energetic wavelengths of visible light between 400 and 500 nm.2 Studies in cell models and animals suggest that too much blue light can cause permanent, irreversible damage in the eye.2-10 It is important to note that some blue light is needed for color perception and regulation of our sleep patterns.

Healthy Habits for Our Eyes

In the Kemin/DSM research, many respondents claim the time on phones, tablets and computers is “necessary for daily needs.”1 Because digital habits are here to stay, the following tips add eye health to your healthy habits. 

1. Take a Break

Remember the “20/20/20” rule. Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look 20 feet away from the computer for 20 seconds.

2. Eat Vegetables

Nutrition can contribute to positive eye health. Vegetables such as broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale) and corn, plus eggs are sources of the eye nutrients lutein and R,R’-zeaxanthin.

3. Know the Role for Supplements

Most of us do not consume the recommended 10 mg of lutein and 2 milligrams zeaxanthin based on the outcomes of AREDS2.11 One cup of raw spinach has 3.7 milligrams of lutein + R,R’-zeaxanthin.12 On average, Americans eat only 1 to 2 milligrams of lutein and R,R’-zeaxanthin daily,13 so supplements can fill a needed gap.

4. Ask About the Source

Not all supplements are the same. FloraGLO® Lutein and ZeaONE®/OPTISHARP® Natural Zeaxanthin* come from the same form of lutein and zeaxanthin found in vegetables. 

5. Read the Label

Some labels for zeaxanthin state only “zeaxanthin isomers,” which do not tell you the type of zeaxanthin. ZeaONE/OPTISHARP Natural Zeaxanthin is R,R’-zeaxanthin, the type found in commonly consumed foods.


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  1. Kemin and DSM consumer research, 2018.
  2. Algvere P, Marshall J, and Seregard S (2006). Age-related maculopathy and the impact of blue light hazard. Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 84:4-15.
  3. Behar-Cohen F, Martinsons C, Viénot F, Zissis G, Barlier-Salsi A, Cesarini J, Enouf O, Garcia M, Picaud S, and Attia D (2011). Light-emitting diodes (LED) for domestic lighting: any risks for the eye? Prog Retin Eye Res. 30: 239-257.
  4. Tosini G, Ferguson I, and Tsubota K (2016). Effects of blue light on the circadian system and eye physiology. Mol Vis. 24: 22:61-2272.
  5. Shen Y, Xie C, Gu Y, Li X, and Tong J (2016). Illumination from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) disrupts pathological cytokines expression and activates relevant signal pathways in primary human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Exp Eye Res. 145: 456-467.
  6. Chen W, Wu C, Xu Z, Kuse Y, Hara H, and Duh E (2016). Nrf2 protects photoreceptor cells from photo-oxidative stress induced by blue light. Exp Eye Res. 154: 151-158.
  7. Ooe E, Tsuruma K, Kuse Y, Kobayashi S, Shimazawa M, and Hara H (2017). The involvement of ATF4 and S-opsin in retinal photoreceptor cell damage induced by blue LED light. Mol Vis. 23: 52-59.
  8. Jaadane I, Villalpando Rodriguez G, Boulenguez P, Chahory S, Carré S, Savoldelli M, Jonet L, Behar-Cohen F, Martinsons C, and Torriglia A (2017). Effects of white light-emitting diode (LED) exposure on retinal pigment epithelium in vivo. J Cell Mol Med. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1111/jcmm.13255.
  9. Shang Y, Wang G, Sliney D, Yang C, and Lee L (2017). Light-emitting-diode induced retinal damage and its wavelength dependency in vivo. Int J Ophthalmol. 10: 191-202.
  10. Krigel A, Berdugo M, Picard E, Levy-Boukris R, Jaadane I, Jonet L, Dernigoghossian M, Andrieu-Soler C, Torriglia A, and Behar-Cohen F (2016). Light-induced retinal damage using different light sources, protocols and rat strains reveals LED phototoxicity. Neuroscience. 339: 296-307.
  11. Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group (2013). JAMA. 309: 2005-2015.
  12. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (Release 28, released September 2015, slightly revised May 2016).
  13. Johnson E, Maras J, Rasmussen H, and Tucker K (2010). Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin differ with age, sex, andethnicity. J Am Diet Assoc. 110: 1357-1362.

FloraGLO is a trademark of Kemin Industries, Inc. and its group of companies 2018. All rights reserved.

* OPTISHARP and OPTISHARP Natural are trademarks of DSM Nutritional Products. OPTISHARP Natural is made with patented ZeaONE from Kemin. ZeaONE is a trademark of Kemin Industries, Inc. and licensed under U.S. Patents Nos. 6,748,351, 7.575,766 and 7,033,622.

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