Be it working from home or attending online classes as well as completing tedious assignments willingly or unwillingly. Catching up on friends and family over video-conferencing every once in a while. Or just binge-watching your favourite movies or shows (read Netflix and Chill). Scrolling down on your social media feeds absent-mindedly in a phone, laptop or tablet. Everybody is stuck in the same vacuum. People are spending most of their time glued to a laptop, tab, TV or mobile phone screen.
Our extended stint of looking at screens during the lockdown is leading to digital eye strain and several related problems which could turn out to be more severe than you thought.
Keeping a check on the health of one’s eyes has always been a cause of concern, especially since gadgets-gizmos have increased screen time and have become an inseparable part of our daily lives. And with the Covid-19 crisis going on for almost a year now, the problem only seems to have aggravated.
Surbhi Sananda, 24, has had glasses since her high school years. Her eye power has been consistently as low as -1 and -0.75. She landed a job in December last year, and with the work-from-home schedule, she was using screens for more than 14 hours a day. In April, she started experiencing sharp headaches and watery eyes. Last month, she couldn’t bear it and went to see an ophthalmologist only to understand that her eye power now was at -3 and -2.5, and if she does not optimize her screen time strictly, she would face irreparable eye damage.
This is the story of several other people who are facing eye issues. With no chance of going out or playing with neighbours, screen time for children is also on the rise. There has been a spurt in patients who complain of eye strain, itching and dryness. This includes children, young adults and most professionals in their 30s and 40s.
An excess of screen time usually tires our eyes to the maximum extent — not to forget prolonged exposure to harmful high energy blue light from the gadgets. Apart from red eyes, pomposity and dark circles, people are also facing blurred vision, watery eyes, eye ache, discomfort, fatigue, dryness and headaches.
There are a few things you can do to help keep your eyes hale and hearty. Reduce the brightness on your device screens. Adjust colours to reduce the blue light, which is associated with more eye strain. Flicker an eyelid more often. Make sure the computer screen is an arm’s length away. The centre of the screen should be about 10 to 15 degrees below eye level. Avoid reading off your phone.
An excellent app to monitor your eye stress is Eye Pro for Windows, that sends out periodic reminders to blink in addition to minimizing eye strain. Wearing suitable spectacles when using computer screens is also important. Make sure your treatments are up-to-date. For this, an annual eye check-up is essential.
Everything today is online from work to education, shopping to entertainment. The eyes have taken the burden of the new normal. If personal and timely care is not taken, this may in a few years become a pandemic in its own right.