Increased screen time during the pandemic could be affecting your visionThursday 22 October 2020
The increasing dependence on devices such as smartphones, televisions and computers, whether for work, education, entertainment, or simply staying connected with friends and peers, is taking its toll on the nation’s eyes. We have been spending more time in front of screens than ever before in recent months thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, and although working from home and online classes are important to help curb the spread of the virus, the “new normal” has led to increased incidents of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Eye problems caused by screen use fall under the heading of Computer Vision Syndrome, but CVS isn’t just one specific problem. Instead, it causes a whole range of symptoms including eye strain, blurred vision, headaches, neck pain, fatigue and dry eyes, among others.
Dr. G. V. Divakar, Managing Director of Divikar’s Speciality Hospital and Asian Research & Training Institute for Skill Transfer, stated that the use of online devices such as phones and laptops has increased by almost 75% during the pandemic.
Top tips to avoid developing CVS:
1. Adjust your screen settings
The aim here is to find a happy medium when it comes to the brightness of your devices and ensure that the screen isn’t too bright or too dim. Digital devices emit significant amounts of blue light which is known to be a contributing factor when it comes to eye strain, and research is showing that long-term exposure to the light from back-lit displays may facilitate degeneration of the retina. Blue-light absorbing eyewear and screen covers are becoming more and more popular as a way to reduce exposure where fine-tuning display settings isn’t enough and avoiding screens altogether just isn’t possible, something that’s becomingly increasingly difficult in modern times.
2. Follow the 20-20-20 rule
The 20-20-20 rule was designed by Californian optometrist Jeffrey Anshel as an easy reminder to take breaks and prevent eye strain by allowing the extraocular muscles to relax. The idea is to take a break every 20 minutes for 20 seconds and focus on something 20 feet away. It can be helpful to set an alarm or reminder at 20-minute intervals whilst working as a prompt to take a break, and if you’re not sure whether an object is 20 feet away, it’s a great idea to look out of the window and focus on a tree or lamp post across the street.
3. Remember to blink
You may think that you do this without even thinking, but did you know that prolonged screen use reduces your blink rate by up to 60%, resulting in dry, itchy and irritated eyes? But it’s not just the number of blinks that matter, the completeness of those blinks is also important. Inadequate blinking not only fails to coat the surface of the eye sufficiently, but it may also reduce visual acuity and cause blurred vision.
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