By Daniel Hunter

More than a third of Brits who wear contact lenses or glasses blame their eyesight problems on prolonged exposure to electronic screens, according to Optical Express.

Thirty-six per cent of those who wear contact lenses or glasses were in agreement that prolonged periods of time spent looking at electronic screens contribute to their poor eyesight.

After noticing a recent increase in the amount of patients visiting their branches with vision problems after years of working in jobs that involve staring at electronic screens for large periods of their day, a new study by Optical Express has aimed to unveil how much Britons feel their reliance on modern technology may have affected their current, or future, eye heath.

Researchers at www.opticalexpress.co.uk polled a total of 2,901 Britons as part of the study. Each participant was aged 18 and over and those taking part were from all regions of the UK. In order to garner the views of as many people as possible, those who wore glasses and contact lenses (61%), as well as those who had no vision problems were polled in the research (39%).

Participants who wore prescription glasses or contact lenses (who had an average age of 36) were initially asked how long they had been wearing them for, with the majority (30%) answering that they had worn them for between 1 to 5 years, and more than a quarter (26%) having worn them for between 11 and 20 years.

All those taking part were then given a list of different electronic devices, and asked to reveal how often they used each (if at all). The majority of participants revealed they used a smartphone everyday (94%), that they watched television every day (72%) and that they used a computer every day (65%). When asked how often they played video games, half of respondents (50%) revealed that they never did, whilst 22% stated that they played a few times a year, and just 4% said 'every day'. When quizzed about how often they used a tablet device, one quarter (25%) revealed that they did so every day, with 23% revealing that they never used tablets.

Next, participants were asked if there current or previous job had ever involved looking at an electronic screen for the majority of the day, with the majority (73%) admitting that it had done so.

Those who wore glasses or contact lenses were then asked if they felt that prolonged periods of time spent looking at electronic screens had contributed to their poor eyesight, with 36% agreeing that it had done so and 49% feeling unsure of whether it had or not. Of those who thought that the screens had contributed to their poor eyesight, more than half (55%) stated that computer screens were the electronic device most likely to have damaged their eyesight, with smartphones (22%) and television (15%) the next most common answers.

Finally, those who didn't wear glasses or contact lenses were asked if they felt as though their eyesight might be in decline and that they may soon require an eye-test, with two-fifths (39%) agreeing that this was true. Almost two fifths (59%) of these individuals believed that television was the biggest contributor to their declining eye health.

Dr Steve Schallhorn, Chief Medical Director of Optical Express, said: “Considering the fact that it is only in the recent few years that we have become so reliant on technology as part of our everyday lives, it is interesting to see that so many of those polled in our study agree that their dependence on such devices as televisions, computers and smartphones contribute to the deterioration of their eye health.

"As so many of our jobs now rely on the constant monitoring of a computer screen, it is near impossible to try and cut down on the amount of time our eyes are focused on electronic devices during work hours, but that doesn’t mean they can’t limit the amount of time they look at such screens during evenings and weekends. Try and limit the time you spend watching TV or staring at your phone during the evenings, and instead read a book or take a walk to give your eyes the rest from modern technology that they deserve!”