Pandemic-fueled lifestyle changes are putting increased strain on our eyes, be it a child who is studying online or an employee who is working online. It is no surprise that screen time has increased during the pandemic, whether it’s working from home in front of a laptop all day, reconnecting with friends and family on video calls, or watching series or movies online. This increased screen time, and the added stresses of lockdown, has inevitably taken its toll on people’s eye health.
Follow these simple steps recommended by Ziqitza alongside taking a screen break to keep our eyes in a better condition to prevent side effects like itchy eyes, headaches and blurry vision.
- Try blue-light blocking glasses
Exposure to the blue light emitted from screens phones, and computers can cause eye strain, fatigue and dry eyes. Blue-light blocking glasses have filters in their lenses that block or absorb blue light to keep screen time comfortable. Blue light glasses aim to filter out blue-light with anti-glare lenses which shield the fibres in your eyes. The juries out on how effective they are for long-term eye health as more trials need to be done, but many wearers are reporting reduced migraines thanks to wearing them.
2. Practice 20/20/20 rule
Another practical tip for minimizing screen time strain is the 20/20/20 technique. Every 20 minutes look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to help relax your eyes. It’ll give your eyes a mini break from concentrating and in turn, ease the eyesight tension causing headaches or blurred vision.
3. Get an early night
Dry eyes can be the result of a few things, including not drinking enough water and lack of fresh air, but a major cause is not giving your eyes enough of a rest to rehydrate. Ziqitza Healthcare says sleep is essential for letting the eye muscles relax and reset, while replenishing eye hydration. But that’s not all. Sleep has also recently been recognized as important to eye health by allowing the nerve-bed of the eyes (the retina) to complete the ‘visual cycle’, whereby the nerve receptors essentially ‘take out the trash’ overnight. It’s especially important after a full day of zooming, that we give our eyes a chance to recuperate overnight. If not, it can lead directly to eye twitches and dry eyes.
4. Rehydrate tired, dry eyes
Common symptoms may include stinging, burning, watery eyes, light sensitivity and blurred vision. To help maintain a stable tear film, remember to not only increase the frequency of blinks, but also make sure a more forceful, complete blink is done during computer work. Experts from ZHL Rajasthan says the 20/20/20 rule can really come in handy here too.Increasing water consumption and decreasing caffeine intake can also be helpful, as too much caffeine can dehydrate and contribute to loss of tear volume.
5. Be aware of when you’re exposing yourself to blue light
We all know that blue light is bad for us, but here’s the thing, we actually need a certain amount of blue light exposure to regulate the hormones that help us wake-up in the morning and retain attention during the working day. However, when we choose to pick up those blue light devices is key. Blue light from devices after dark can suppress the body’s production of melatonin which makes it harder to fall asleep at night. So late night emails are really best avoided. Instead spend the hour before bed away from screens, reading journaling or indulging in some self-care routine.
Dr. Santosh Datar from Ziqitza Limited suggests when your eyes are feeling tired, you can do some pencil push-ups. Hold a pencil 12 inches away from your nose, and slowly bring it toward your nose while keeping the pencil tip single as close as you can ideally, all the way to your nose. Do 10 reps every hour to get your eyes working together again and give them a break from the screen.
Employers have started addressing eye health of employees under various employee health and wellness schemes with regular health checkup, wellness webinars, tele-consultation etc. by tie up with an expert like Ziqitza which provides multiple corporate wellness solutions.