FORT HOOD, Texas – That digital device you’ve been staring at for the past few hours could be damaging your eyes. The culprit: overexposure to blue light.

The high-energy visible light is emitted from all of our digital devices, including smartphones, tablets, LED monitors and flat-screen television monitors. Sadly, that overexposure to the digital devices’ blue light equates to about seven hours daily for the average user. Enough time, according to the American Optometric Association, to lead to digital eye strain, sleep problems, blurred vision, headaches and neck and shoulder pain.

To encourage healthy eye care, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center is hosting free vision screenings in recognition of “Save your Vision” month, held annually every March by the American Optometric Association. CRDAMC’s ophthalmology clinic will be on hand to conduct the free near-vision screenings March 5-6 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the hospital’s atrium. The eye team also will be available to answer questions and distribute educational material.

“With computers becoming an everyday part of people’s lives, the risk of eye strain and damage is higher than before,” said CRDAMC optometrist, Capt. Scott Gabreski. “This year, we’re challenging you to prioritize not only your eye health, but your overall health and well-being and limit your exposure to blue light.” said Gabreski.

The main focus of “Save your Vision” month, Gabreski said, is to encourage more people to have regular eye exams.

“If you think your eyesight is decreasing or faulty, we can immediately take corrective measures,” said the optometrist. “This is much healthier compared to putting up with eye strain until it becomes a real problem to see. Eye checks can also tell you a lot about your general state of health. For example, diabetes and glaucoma are often diagnosed via an eye exam.”

He also encourages monitoring exposure to digital screens while at home or at work, as well as powering down the devices at bedtime.

“Saving your vision is as easy as looking away from your screen every 20 minutes and powering down the device an hour before bed,” he said.

To schedule an eye exam with any of CRDAMC four Optometry clinics, call the CRDAMC appointment line at 254-288-8888.

For more information and vision-protection tips, visit the American Optometric Association’s website at