As the COVID-19 pandemic is showing no signs of easing, working professionals and students are spending more time in front of the screen. Even before the pandemic, many people were guilty of keeping their eyes locked on some type of screen, be it a smartphone or TV. Children from 5 years to 15 years are spending twice the amount of time in front of screens than what they did earlier while an average adult is spending over 13 hours a day in front of the screen, as per the 2020 Nielsen report. This increased digital interaction has put more people, both adults and children, at the risk of eye strain. Some of our best eye specialists in Kolkata share with you the relationship between screen time and your eye problems and what you can do to reduce eye strain:
Problems that arise due to too much screen time:
- Dry eyes syndrome: For eyes to remain healthy, they need to be moist. Normally, people blink every 10 seconds or so. Blinking releases a tear film that soothes your eyes. But when you are working on a laptop, computer or watching TV, you tend to blink less. And when you blink less, your eyes, your eyes can get irritated. Those of you who suffer from dry eyes syndrome may experience a burning sensation in the eyes, sensitivity to light, redness in the eyes, difficulty wearing contact lenses and watery eyes. These symptoms may seem to get serious after spending prolonged screen time.
- Eye strain: Your eyes may feel tired after working on a computer for too long, reading a book for hours or driving a car for long hours. Unfortunately, eye strain has become common in today’s digital age. Eye strain caused by the use of digital devices is often called computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. Though it can be treated with over-the-counter eye drops, prolonged eye strain can be a sign of something more serious.
Tips to reduce digital eye strain
While many of you have transitioned to working or learning remotely, it is difficult to completely avoid the screens. However, here are some tips that you can follow to give your eyes some relief:
- Maintain proper distance: Positioning your computer monitor or laptop correctly is an important part of eye care. Avoid using digital devices when lying down as reading at this angle can cause severe eye strain. Position your computer or laptop in such a way it is at an arm’s length from your eyes. The screen should be positioned just below your natural line of sight.
- Incorporate breaks: Back-to-back virtual meetings or online classes can be quite tiring for your eyes. To relieve your eyes, take frequent breaks by looking away from your computer screen. Every 20 minutes, take a break of 20 seconds. You can also get up from the desk and walk around for a few minutes.
- Adjust the brightness of the digital devices: While a screen that’s too bright or too dim can cause eye strain. Make sure the screen of your digital devices are bright enough that you don’t have to squint. Use appropriate spectacles to reduce glare.
- Use eye drops: Focussing too intensely on a screen while working can result in a significant reduction in how many times you blink per minute. This can leave your eyes dry and irritated as well. Using artificial teats can help you get rid of irritation and dryness. Always check with an eye doctor before using an eye drop. Also, instead of relying completely on eye drops completely, try to blink more often when using a screen.
Maintaining your eye health is key to avoiding serious vision problems. Schedule an eye check-up every year, especially if you have been experiencing long-lasting eyestrain. If you are looking for an eye doctor in Kolkata, visit Disha Eye Hospitals. In the wake of the pandemic, teleconsultation is also available.