Looking after your eyes now is more important than ever. During the first lockdown in March, 22% of British people noticed their vision get worse throughout this period, whilst 32% of people believed that spending more time in front of a screen has worsened their vision. Online communications have become more popular than ever, with the extended hours of staring at digital devices whilst working from home, scrolling through social media repeatedly out of boredom and not to mention binge watching through more than a few series. Trying to follow these simple 6 steps for yourself and your families eye health during this time will make all the difference for the health of your eyes.
- Screen time: Most people will be working from home during the coronavirus lockdown, and whilst it may seem comfortable at first, you’ll notice the significant increase in screen time at home can contribute to various eye-related issues such as dry eyes, itchiness in your eyes and even headaches. The blue light emitting from the screens of computers, laptops and smartphones cam be harmful to your eyes if you are using them for extended periods of time. This is because they have the highest energy wavelength of visible light, penetrating right through the eye’s natural filters. Try to follow the 20-20-20 rule to relax your eye muscles and decrease the accommodative stress. For every 20 minutes take a break of 20 seconds from your device and look at distant objects which are 20 feet away.
- General Health: Consuming a balanced diet and giving your eyes the nutrition, they need is key to maintaining good eye health. Omega 3 rich foods help to naturally lubricate the eyes and are commonly found in flax seeds, fish, chia seeds, walnuts and soya beans. Apart from the above, intake of leafy vegetables, eggs, dairy products, carrots, almonds and fruits are also good for maintaining healthy eyes.
- UV Protection: We know its not exactly the sunniest time of the year, but just remember, the sun, or rather the UV radiation from the sun, can be harmful to your eyes. When talking about UV protection, most people automatically think ‘sunglasses’, however it is important to understand that there is a difference between UV protection and sun protection.
- Treat them a little: Dry eyes is a very common symptom when you have had excessive screen time, but thankfully there are several products on the market specifically made to relieve dry eyes. We hand pick only the most effective solutions to sell in our practice, including The Eye Bag by MDGRx, specifically made for patients suffering with gritty eyes and dry eyes, simply by placing the warm silk and cotton device over your eyes for a warm soothing sensation. If you are looking for something a little stronger, we would recommend HydraMed Night Sensitive Lanolin Free Ointment, providing an all-night relief for gritty and dry eyes. The thicker nature of this product means it can protect the eyes throughout the night. Depending on the level of relief you are seeking, either of these products can be exactly the pick me up your eyes need.
- Proper Lighting: Is your computer near a window? While it’s great to have a view whilst you work, try to make sure your screen is angled so you don’t have a backdrop of sunlight filtering through the window. In this case, the light outside is brighter than your screen, which means your eyes are working harder to focus on your screen. The lighting of the room you are working in should also be taken into consideration, making sure your screen brightness is the same intensity as the lighting of your room you are working in.
- Don’t forget we are open: Opticians are an essential service; and therefore we will remain open for business during lockdown and welcome all new and existing patients to get in contact with us for any visual concerns. Rest assured, we have excellent infection protocols to ensure the safety of both you, your family and our team. If you are worried about attending your appointment or have questions, please do not hesitate to call us to discuss your concerns.
These simple tips will go a long way towards protecting your eyes during this lockdown, and it is so important to remember how easy it can be to neglect your eyes as they often do not hurt when there’s a problem. Don’t forget that completing an eye test will not just tell you if you need new glasses or a change in prescription but check the health of your eyes as well. An optometrist can spot many general health problems and early signs of eye conditions before you’re aware of any symptoms, many of which can be treated if found early.