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What is Digital Impairment Syndrome?

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During the last Silmo , the ALL group offered a conference on digital deficiency syndrome (DES for Digital Eyestrain Symptoms). Faced with the ultra presence of screens in their lives, many French people say they are concerned. But what is it really? Is this syndrome inevitable? We try to find out more.

Digital disability syndrome: screens in the viewfinder

For a vast majority of French people, the impact of screens in our lives is a source of concern. For 84% of them, these screens, which are endlessly available, damage eyesight. One in two would be prepared to pay more for better protection.


Parents' concern about this digital upsurge is understandable. Especially since the time spent in front of screens, for adults and children alike, is constantly and logically increasing.

This intensive use will, as we know, have consequences on our eyesight. Our way of life has evolved, especially since the appearance of smartphones, triggering an unprecedented turn. In 2007, a syndrome was clearly identified. This is the Digital Eyestrain Symptoms (DES), in French Digital Deficiency Syndrome.

Symptoms that many are already experiencing

But how is this syndrome characterized? In reality, these are all the results of regular exposure to screens and in particular to blue light.


Headache, itchy eyes, feeling of visual fatigue, dry eyes , but also pain in the neck, shoulders, back, difficulty in paying attention … are all to be put correlated with a lifestyle that has suddenly changed.

Christophe Fontvieille, of the ALL group , explains that the quality of our binocular vision depends on the effort that is made to be able to merge two images of the same stimulus seen in simultaneous condition.

75% of the population suffers from heterophoria , which is a deviation from the axis of sight observed when the eyes are at rest. In the majority of cases, to maintain the axis, one must make a fusion effort which is normally done without difficulty. But sometimes this effort becomes too great.


The strong presence of screens in our current lives increases the risk of making this effort called “ heterophoric decompensation. "

With the use of computers and the arrival of smartphones, our posture is also compromised. Neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain and many others are also symptoms of DES.

Importantly, the arrival of the smartphone has brought screens even closer. When the television was still standing a few feet away, our phone stood eight or three inches away.

Support clients and take action


Faced with this observation, we can already establish a concrete list of evils that will occur more and more in the years to come. It is therefore important to advise customers well, to educate them and warn them about sometimes too intensive use, or to give them the keys to more reasoned use.

Experts in visual health exist and can support professionals in order to help them, first of all, to detect this syndrome and, secondly, to better advise their clients.